Backers of a Montana citizen's initiative that would add new mining regulations say a foreign-owned company is illegally bankrolling an industry campaign against the proposal.
In a complaint Tuesday to the Federal Election Commission, sponsors of Initiative 186 alleged campaign law violations by the Montana Mining Association, Sandfire Resources and others.
Sandfire Resources is an Australian company whose British-Columbia-based subsidiary, “Sandfire America,” is seeking to develop the Black Butte copper mine near White Sulphur Springs.
David Brooks is the Executive Director of Montana Trout Unlimited and co-chair for the Yes for Responsible Mining Campaign I-186.
“Sandfire America’s assets are nearly wholly owned by foreign entities or individuals,” Brooks says.
Foreign corporations are prohibited from donating to U.S. elections, but campaign filings show Sandfire America contributed almost $18,000 to the "Stop I-186" political committee and more than $270,000 to the mining association, which also funds the committee.
Sandfire spokeswoman Nancy Schlepp says the money was paid through a Montana-based subsidiary, Tintina Resources Inc.