by Travis Mateer
Sheriffs and wannabe judges are heavily involved in defending and upholding laws for the rest of us. That is why I am VERY disappointed that THREE wannabe municipal judges are following the path of Sheriff T.J. McDermott in using a company that has demonstrated a zero-fuck level of concern regarding basic, legally defined campaign expectations for candidates like Eli Parker, Jake Coolidge and Jennifer Streano.
And here is the predictable result (emphasis mine):
Complaints alleging financial coordination have been filed against Missoula municipal judge candidates Jennifer Streano, Eli Parker and Jacob Coolidge.
The complaints were filed with the office of the Montana Commissioner of Political Practices by Rosalie Sheehy Cates, a volunteer campaign treasurer for Ethan Lerman’s campaign. Lerman is running in Department 3 against Coolidge.
Cates alleges that the three candidates raised contributions as individuals, then essentially pooled the money for management and coordination by Westridge Creative, a campaign consulting firm.
The alleged pooling of resources lacks transparency, and Montanans have a right to know who is financing campaigns, Cates said.
“In effect, a contributor giving to any of the candidates was giving, unreported, to all the candidates,” Cates writes in her complaint.
This continued zero-fuck attitude from Jim Parker’s Westridge Creative is curious. In 2014 his “consulting” firm was involved in this batch of complaints against Sheriff McDermott:
Jonathan Motl says T.J. McDermott accepted illegal corporate contributions, failed to report in-kind contributions, and failed to disclose and report expenses in detail.
The findings involve fund-raising efforts by the Missoula Law Office of Datsopolous, MacDonald and Lind, and a consulting arrangement with West Ridge Creative.
The legacy of Westridge Creative goes back to the year 2000, the year I moved to this little valley. An astute reader sent me an email with a link to this official complaint (PDF) from the Commissioner Political Practices. Here’s a portion that describes the formation of Westridge Creative:
6. Sometime in 2000, Jim Parker, Pete Talbot, and Jeffrey Smith formed “WestRidge Creative,” a communications company located in Missoula.
7. Handler did not have a paid campaign staff, but she had a number of campaign volunteers, including members of the Missoula New Party, the Democratic Party, the Glacial Lake Missoula Greens, Jim Fleischmann, John Fletcher, Jim Parker, Pete Talbot, and James Musumeci. Handler’s campaign treasurer was Leslie Wood.
The political establishment that has OWNED this town’s politics for the past 20 years has become extremely arrogant in how they protect their power and extremely flagrant in the flouting of the laws they give zero fucks about.
While I have come to expect this kind of shit from a dough-boy Sheriff like McDermott, I was very disappointed when I read this trio of wannabe judges are using the same political scumbags that got T.J. elected.
Jake Coolidge, the public defender who got Brandon Bryant acquitted, is probably hoping the voting public will just ignore the obvious VISUAL coordination of his campaign signage. And his hopes will more than likely be realized when ignorant Missoulians confirm they also give ZERO FUCKS about their liberal candidates flouting campaign laws.
I hope my kids don’t pick up on this lawless fuckery because it’s very important that they follow rules, like masks at school, otherwise the plague will kill us all.
But campaign laws? Who really gives a fuck?