American Tradition Partnership is a 501(c)(4) grassroots lobbying group that bills itself as “a no-compromise grassroots organization dedicated to fighting the radical environmentalist agenda.”
Donald Ferguson, ATP’s national director of media and public relations, said it receives contributions primarily from individual donors who on average give between $25 and $50. As a 501(c)(4) group, it is not required to release a list of its supporters. Ferguson said the group as a matter of policy doesn’t release its donor list.
It was founded in Montana in 2008 as Western Tradition Partnership by former U.S. Rep. Ron Marlenee, R-Mont., and former state Rep. John Sinrud, R-Bozeman. Sinrud since moved to the Flathead Valley.
Ferguson said the group was originally and remains organized in Colorado, while he runs the group’s federal operations in Washington, D.C., where its office is located.
A state investigator obtained a 2010 election year briefing by what’s now American Tradition Partnership. The group told would-be supporters that donations to it were confidential, corporate contributions were allowed, donations were unlimited and it can run “a successful program against the radical environmentalists and beat them at their own game.”
“If you decide to support the program, no politician, no bureaucrat and no radical environmentalist will ever know you helped make this program possible,” the group’s presentation said.
It added: “The only thing we plan on reporting is our success to contributors like you who can see the benefits of a program like this. You can sit back on election night and see what a difference you’ve made.”
The other plaintiffs in the successful lawsuit challenging Montana’s ban on corporate political spending were Montana Shooting Sports Association, a gun rights organization with headquarters in Missoula, and Champion Painting, a family-owned, house-painting company in Bozeman.