Two weeks after FOX Business reporter David Asman filed a devastating report raising serious questions about former Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer’s PAC funneling money to a shell non-profit, Schweitzer announced on Saturday he will not run for the U.S. Senate.
Schweitzer, who was considered Democrats’ best hope for winning the open-seat election, denies Asman’s revelations prompted his decision.
“I never wanted to be in the U.S. Senate,” said Schweitzer. “I kicked the tires. I walked to the edge and looked over.”
On July 1, Asman reported that Schweitzer had set up a PAC named the Council for Sustainable America that in March 2010 made a $306,779 donation to a shadowy 501 (c)(4) group with a similar-sounding name called the American Sustainability Project. Recent Internal Revenue Service (IRS) rules state that tax-exempt groups “must certify that political campaign intervention involves 40% or less of both their spending and time.” When Asman’s investigative team visited the address listed for the group, individuals in the building said they had never heard of the organization.
“It seems clear that this is just a political vehicle of Brian Schweitzer who wants to run for the U.S. Senate,” concluded Asman.
Schweitzer was a prominently featured speaker at the 2008 and 2012 Democratic National Conventions. His decision not to vie for Montana’s U.S. Senate seat “is expected to stun the Democratic political establishment” and “imperils Democrats’ chances of holding the seat and could further narrow an ever-shrinking 2014 Senate map” for Democrats, reports Politico.
Republican Senatorial Committee spokesperson Brad Dayspring says the Schweitzer announcement renders a stunning blow to Democrats.
“Just two days ago, Senate Democrats were quoted promising Brian Schweitzer tremendous resources to get in the race,” said Dayspring.
Still, Schweitzer contends his decision not to run was personal.
“I don’t want to leave Montana,” said Schweitzer. “This is my home, not Washington D.C.”