Schumer PAC Teams with Montana Liberals Disguised as Grassroots Hunting Group

Ad campaign woos gun owners

Montana Senate candidate Steve Bullock (D.) / Getty Images
October 29, 2020

A liberal super PAC disguising itself as a grassroots hunting group partnered with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) in a new ad aimed at bolstering Montana Democrat Steve Bullock.

Montana Hunters and Anglers has spent millions to blanket state airwaves with ads implying that Bullock has the support of local sportsmen. The group typically attempts to obscure its ties to national liberals—its website says it "puts Montana first, not bigwigs back east." Its latest spot, however, is a joint venture with Schumer's Senate Majority PAC.

The ad, which started airing across the state this week, comes after the Senate Majority PAC reported spending nearly $1.5 million on media buys opposing Bullock's Republican opponent, Sen. Steve Daines.

While the spot aims to tie Daines to wealthy, out-of-state donors, Montana Hunters and Anglers is bankrolled almost exclusively by liberal interest groups and progressive megadonors.

The group has received $700,000 from Silicon Valley physician Karla Jurvetson, $150,000 from Atlanta billionaire Arthur Blank, and $50,000 from the Sixteen Thirty Fund, a liberal dark money network that allows wealthy donors to contribute anonymously to political groups. Both Jurvetson and Blank have also made maximum contributions to Bullock's campaign.

More than 92 percent of the Democrat's funds come from outside Montana, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

Montana Hunters and Anglers has also worked to deflect focus away from Bullock's embrace of gun control. After Bullock received an "F" rating from the NRA, the super PAC released an ad claiming the Democrat "took on liberals in his own party" to protect gun rights.

During his failed presidential campaign, however, Bullock declared his support for a slew of gun-control measures, such as banning assault weapons, restricting magazine sizes, and implementing red-flag laws.

The group, which is run by national Democratic operatives with ties to Bullock's previous gubernatorial campaigns, has worked to siphon votes from Montana Republicans in the past. It spent more than $1.1 million in 2012 to boost libertarian Senate candidate Dan Cox, who received 32,000 votes despite raising less than $50,000.

Montana Shooting Sports Association president Gary Marbut called Montana Hunters and Anglers a "decoy group" that "operates in Montana only during election season."

"They're resurrected to try and generate political cover for liberal candidates," Marbut told the Washington Free Beacon in October.

Montana Hunters and Anglers did not return a request for comment.