Tuesday, July 2, 2013

FOX outlines Brian Schweitzer’s dark money ties


According to FOX Business News former Montana governor and potential U.S. Senate candidate Brian Schweitzer in 2010 (2009?)set up a 501(c)(4) 527 political non-profit that gave $306,799 to a Washington, D.C.-based political non-profit called the American Sustainability Project.

What the money was used for remains a mystery, but FOX argues that these two groups exist for the sole purpose of politicking on behalf of Schweitzer in violation of IRS rules.

According to FOX’s David Asman, Schweitzer in 2010 set up a 501(c)(4) nonprofit called the Council for Sustainable America. Asman says he knows the Council for Sustainable America is tied to Schweitzer because CSA has the same PO Box mailing address as Schweitzer.

So as the political world waits on bated breath to see what Schweitzer’s next move will be, it appears Schweitzer may have been quietly amassing his war chest since as far back as 2010 through these two organizations.

One point FOX didn’t pick up on was the fact that the treasurer of the Council for Sustainable America is, or was, Dave Gallik. Gallik is the man Schweitzer appointed in 2011 to be the commissioner of political practices, Montana’s top political campaign and ethics enforcer.


Gallik resigned from that post in January 2012 amid accusations that he was using his state office to conduct non-state work for his private law firm.

Gallik claimed he did nothing wrong and that he told Schweitzer at the outset that he would not give up his private law practice to serve as commissioner.

Montana Attorney General Tim Fox’s office is in the process of suing Gallik under the state’s False Claims Act, a law Gallik helped create when he was in the Legislature.  The False Claims Act law authorizes a private person to prosecute a recovery and civil sanction action on behalf of the state government against any person who obtains payment from a government entity by means of a knowingly false or fraudulent representation or claim.

Media Trackers Montana in April reported that Gallik was Schweitzer’s former attorney and served as treasurer for Council for Sustainable America, which received a $335,000 contribution from the Democratic Governors Association four months after Schweitzer became chair of the committee.

There are more questions than answers stemming from the FOX News report.  What is Schweitzer’s tie to these political organizations and what is their true purpose? Who’s funding them? Why was Dave Gallik acting as treasurer of a 501(c)(4) political group while at the same serving as commissioner of political practices in apparent violation of state ethics laws? The law says the commissioner of political practices “may not knowingly…participate in any political activity or in a political campaign.” Was Gallik, while acting as the commissioner of political practices, doing campaign work on behalf of Schweitzer?

Schweitzer did not answer calls made to his cell phone, and there was no voicemail service on which to leave a message. A call to Gallik’s law firm had not been returned as of the time of this posting.

In a nutshell, it appears Schweitzer, who purported to be the most transparent governor in Montana history, in 2010 set up a dark money group run by the man he appointed to be the top political campaign watchdog for what appears to be the sole purpose of holding money for a future political campaign.

Here’s a link to the FOX Business News report.

Here’s a link to the Council for Sustainable America’s 2010 IRS form 990.

Here’s a link to the American Sustainability Project’s 2010 IRS form 990.

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