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FRONT PAGE CONTRIBUTOR

Brian Schweitzer cuts and runs from Montana Senate race.

Gotta wonder why.

Former Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer won’t seek Montana’s open U.S. Senate seat in 2014, a blow to Democrats‘ hopes of holding the seat and preserving their overall Senate majority.

The popular Democrat, who left the governor’s office in 2013 after two terms, told the Associated Press that he “kicked the tires” on the race but decided he preferred Montana to Washington.

I’m being sarcastic, of course. Because there’s probably a reason why nowhere in that LA Times article is this mentioned:

A political organization with close ties to former Gov. Brian Schweitzer funneled over $300,000 to a Washington, D.C.-based dark money group in 2010. The organization that gave the money away, a so-called 527 group named Council for Sustainable America (CSA), appears to be run by Franklin Hall, a former senior aide to Schweitzer. The money from CSA was sent to the American Sustainability Project (ASP), a 501(c)(4) group that claims an address in downtown Washington, D.C.

The 2010 donations — totaling $306,779 — raise questions about whether ASP is a shell group created to hold money on Schweitzer’s behalf.

Funny how that got overlooked, huh?

Anyway, this announcement achieved tactical surprise: nobody was really prepared for it. That is not necessarily proof that Schweitzer had a bagman, but it does suggest that speculation along those lines is not unfair. Maybe not prescient, but definitely not unfair.

Moe Lane (crosspost)

PS: A lot of groups are reassessing the Montana Senate race now. Schweitzer out makes it harder for the Democrats to hold their Senate majority.

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