HELENA — A political-action committee backing the Green Party candidate in Montana’s high-profile U.S. Senate race is being funded by a Texas-based conservative group, records show.
The group, CSG Action, also has ties to a Texas oil-and-gas executive who’s donated to the Montana Republican Party and the campaign of Republican U.S. Sen. Steve Daines, and who bankrolled a group that opposed Democratic U.S. Sen. Jon Tester in 2018.
The PAC, Go Green Montana, was formed in early May and last week reported spending $27,000 on digital ads, mailings and a website to support Wendie Fredrickson, the Montana Green Party for U.S. Senate.
Fredrickson, a former auditor for the state Department of Public Health and Human Services, won the June 2 Green Party Senate primary, defeating Dennis Daneke of Missoula.
She will appear on the general election ballot, along with Republican U.S. Sen. Steve Daines and his Democratic challenger, Gov. Steve Bullock.
The Montana Republican Party financed the effort to qualify the Green Party for the 2020 Montana ballot, enabling candidates to run under that banner. GOP officials said they wanted to give Montana voters “more choices.”
The Montana Democratic Party says the effort to promote the Green Party and its candidates, including the Go Green Montana PAC, are part of an “ongoing Republican effort to mislead Montanans and meddle in our elections.”
The Montana Green Party also has distanced itself from Fredrickson’s candidacy and the Go Green Montana PAC, saying it has nothing to do with the latter and that Fredrickson hasn’t contacted the local party.
Fredrickson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Go Green Montana’s first finance report, filed last week with the Federal Election Committee, says it raised $45,500 entirely from CSG Action. Records indicate that CSG Action is the political arm of Citizens for Self-Governance, a group that describes itself on its website as “dedicated to … motivating a nationwide network of self-governing citizen activists, committed to bring government back to the people.”
The president of Citizens for Self-Governance, based in Houston, is Mark Meckler, an attorney who was a national coordinator for the Tea Party Patriots. Its chair is Eric O’Keefe, who helped found U.S. Term Limits and has been involved in various conservative and libertarian-leaning groups.
A Texas telephone number listed on the group’s website has been disconnected and the group did not respond to an email.
One of the listed directors of Citizens for Self-Governance is Tim Dunn, an oil-and-gas company executive from Midland, Texas, who’s been politically active in many conservative groups and causes.
In 2018, he spent $2.2 million backing a group called the Senate Reform Fund, which spent most of its money on ads and other efforts to oppose Montana U.S. Sen. Jon Tester, a Democrat, when he ran for re-election.
This year and last, Dunn and his wife, Terri, have donated $20,000 to the Montana Republican Party, $11,200 to Daines’ Senate campaign, and another $15,000 to a committee affiliated with the Daines campaign.