Election 2012

Green groups support Tester under guise of hunters, anglers

Green groups support Tester under guise of hunters, anglers

It’s a strange endorsement in this Montana television ad—stuffed and mounted wild game come to life and praise Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) for killing them.

“Jon stood up for hunters in Montana, stood strong for the Second Amendment,” says the voiceover of a scaup, in a poor imitation of its better-known cousin the Aflac duck. “Jon even took on the Obama administration over grey wolves,” the scaup says as a wolf skin rug, grey in color, growls in response.

Tester faces Republican Rep. Denny Rehberg in his reelection effort and paid for the television advertisement as part of a larger effort to cast himself as a friend to the hunting and fishing community—a significant base of Montana voters.

However, a sizable contribution to Tester’s campaign comes from an out-of-state environmental group that seeks to protect wildlife from man—including sportsmen.

The liberal League of Conservation Voters funds political candidates based on their support of certain environmental issues, and gave Tester a 91 percent ranking on its scorecard this congressional session for votes siding with the Environmental Protection Agency, global warming initiatives and for opposing most energy development projects that use natural resources.

“Environmentalists have discovered they will have more success if they cloak their big green agenda in hunter orange,” said Jed Link, a spokesman for Rehberg.

“The League of Conservation Voters’ agenda plays well in some places, but in most of Montana it’s not a popular agenda so they have to hide their involvement and act like something they are not,” Link said.

This election season the League of Conservation Voters has spent $6 million on political campaigns across the country—$350,000 on Montana television ads attacking Rehberg and another $337,000 on door-to-door canvassing in favor of Tester.

“We are joining forces because Congressman Rehberg is anti-hunter and anti-fisherman, plain and simple,” Land Tawney, president of the Montana Hunters and Anglers Leadership Fund, said in announcing their coordinated ad campaign with the League of Conservation Voters.

The first ad titled “No Rehberg Land Grab” suggests sportsmen, anglers and recreationists would be forbidden by the Homeland Security Department from accessing federal property because of legislation supported by Rehberg.

A second ad suggests bureaucrats would fence off public lands and an actor tells the lawmaker to “keep your insiders away from our outdoors.”

Border security connection

Interestingly, the legislation in question would force the Interior Department to allow law enforcement agents pursue illegal immigrants onto federal property along the border, now restricted because of endangered species or wilderness designations.

Human Events reported last year the legislation was crafted in response to similar situations along the southern border, one in which border patrol agents were ordered to stay miles away from a pond inhabited by endangered pupfish.

Rep. Rob Bishop (R-Utah), the bill’s author, said Tester never mentioned any concerns about the language or intent as it progressed through Congress and that his newfound interest is “purely political.”

“Given Jon Tester’s record of supporting President Obama’s weak border security and immigration policies I am not at all surprised that he opposes this effort to protect the country from criminals looking to illegally enter our country and bring drugs into our communities. Jon Tester’s efforts to distort the facts and intentionally mislead his constituents about this legislation illustrate that he cares more about getting elected than doing what’s right for the safety and security of our country,” Bishop said in a statement to Human Events.

The language allowing fence construction along the northern border was also in response to a terrorist threat against Montana.

Law enforcement officials there disrupted the 2011 assassination attempt of four al-Qaida terrorists who targeted a cyber-spy living in Conrad, Montana after the men illegally crossed the border.

Earlier this year an al-Qaida magazine urged terrorists to set wildfires in Montana—a repeat of a threat years earlier.

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