| NRSC Digital

Tester’s stunning reversal on dark money

Jon Tester likes to talk a big game on dark money, but this week he’s been caught with his hand in the cookie jar, secretly soliciting big ad spends from the very dark money groups he said he wanted to stop in Montana.

Just this week, Tester complained on Twitter that “out-of-state special interests have already spent $1 million+ against me, so I’m relying on grassroots supporters more than ever” and earlier this cycle he swore he’d reject any dark money groups from spending on his behalf in Montana.

  • Tester in February 2017: “These groups that are buying ads have an agenda… I’m certainly not going to let a group come in, funded by folks outside the state of Montana. That’s not who I’m accountable to.” – Senator Jon Tester (KPAX Channel 8, 2/22/17)
  • Tester in February 2018: “We’re not going to reply on superPACs or Dark Money Groups.” (Tester Fundraising Email, 2/27/18)

Problem is: Tester has been uploading secret documents to his website signaling to superPACs what he’d like them to say (see documents here and here) and even got caught uploading b-roll footage to his YouTube page to ensure dark money groups have plenty of good shots of him to use in their ads on his behalf.

The total about-face from a man who promised to reject dark money is stunning in and of itself, but it also overlooks the fact that Democratic dark money groups are already spending more than $1.8 million to defend him this cycle alone.

Talk about hypocrisy.

“Jon Tester’s do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do approach to politics embodies everything people hate about Washington,” said NRSC Spokesman Calvin Moore. “If Montanans can’t even trust Senator Tester to tell the truth about his approach to money in politics, what else is he lying to voters about?”