Governor Steve Bullock has an F-rating from the National Rifle Association and is heavily opposed by the Montana Shooting Sports Association (which has launched a ‘Ban Bullock’ advertising blitz across the state). But Bullock’s anti-gun record hasn’t stopped a Washington D.C. Dark Money group from posing as Montana sportsmen to claim that Bullock is pro-gun. The ad, full of misrepresentations, can be seen on Facebook.
The ad, placed by Montana Hunters and Anglers Leadership Council, seems to represent hunting sportsmen in Montana. But research by Green Decoys reveals that the organization is actually funded out of Washington D.C. The website writes, “Green Decoy” group Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, led by pro-Obama activist Land Tawney, has been active in Montana. Montana BHA chapter leader Greg Munther writes that his group is ‘an all-volunteer grassroots hunter and fisherman organization,’ but he leaves out a crucial fact that BHA gets most of its money from a handful of out-of-Montana liberal groups.”
Additionally, Montana Hunters and Anglers is funded by D.C.-led “Strength and Security Fund” and the “League of Conservation Voters,” both Democrat-led Political Action Committees. They first developed to oppose the candidacy of Denny Rehberg (R) in 2012.
More financial backers include “the Wyss Foundation, run by a Swiss billionaire, and the Tides Foundation, a San Francisco outfit that operates more like a liberal laundering operation than philanthropy.” Green Decoys writes of them, “Montana Hunters and Anglers exists to push an environmentalist agenda—in particular, banning the development of energy on public lands under the guise that it would hurt hunting or fishing opportunities.”
Open Secrets, a website that seeks to reveal the orientation of political spending, lists the Montana Leadership Council as liberal.
Of more than 1.1 million spent in a previous election cycle, all dollars were given to defeat Republicans (see below).
Sunlight Financial Reporting Group shows the same data (see below).
Gary Marbut of the Montana Shooting Sports Association was quoted only hours ago in an article published at KGVO Radio. According to Marbut, Bullock will not respond to specific questions about where he stands on guns.
Marbut said, “Candidate Bullock did not return MSSA’s candidate questionnaire so we don’t have specific information about what he would do in the Senate. However, Presidential candidate Joe Biden has a very specific section on his website about his intent for the right to keep and bear arms which is really not very commendable.”
He added, “I sent a letter to candidate Bullock asking if he and Biden were both elected, how much of Joe Biden’s agenda for guns would he actively support or actively oppose? So we’re waiting to hear from him whether or not he agrees with his presidential candidate.”
The National Rifle Association (NRA) has given Bullock an F-rating and dedicated a page on their website to his defeat. The line in Bullock’s ad suggesting the NRA has said his support for gun rights is a “courageous and important stand” has been repeated by the candidate as attributed to the NRA since at least 2012. It was not easy, but the Montana Daily Gazette traced the quotation to a 2009 letter supposedly sent from a “top NRA official” thanking Bullock for joining in a friend-of-the-court brief before the U.S. Supreme Court in the McDonald v. Chicago case.
The above was first cited by the liberal Missoulian newspaper quoting the New York Times, and we have not found primary evidence the NRA ever actually said that. But since 2009, Bullock has vetoed dozens of pro-gun bills that passed the Montana Legislature.