A Green Party candidate in Montana’s U.S. Senate race was on the state Republican Party’s payroll, according to the Associated Press.
Timothy Adams filed to challenge Democratic Senator Jon Tester in March as a Green Party candidate. He lost the Green Party primary by over 300 votes, according to Ballot Access News.
According to the AP report, Adams is associated with an anti-tax group and filed a complaint about campaign finance violations.
Danielle Breck, the Green Party state coordinator, said she spoke with all of the candidates, including Adams.
“We don’t actually have any ability to deny candidates to file under our name,” Breck told the AP.
The revelation of the GOP ties has led to criticism of the Green Party on Twitter.
“Look. Nobody is entitled to anyone’s votes, you have to earn them,” tweeted Matthew Yglesias. “But political action should have a purpose and the U.S. Green Party’s purpose is… not great.”
John Harwood of CNBC tweeted a link to the AP article, saying “fraudulent and corrupt.”
A Montana judge has since ordered that the Montana Green Party be removed from the ballot due to the party not submitting enough valid signatures, according to the Independent Record.
The Green Party needed to gather 5,000 signatures from at least 34 of Montana’s House districts. Montana Democrats argued in a court filing that the Green Party only had signatures from 30 districts.
District Court Judge James Reynolds invalidated signatures for several reasons. Some signatures didn’t include all the required information, while others were matched to the wrong voter.
The Green Party has frequently been criticized by Democrats for pulling voters away from Democratic candidates, leaving them vulnerable to election losses to Republicans, according to Salon.
Some Democrats are accusing the Green Party candidate in the Ohio 12th district special election of stealing votes from Democratic candidate Danny O’Connor, for example. Danny O’Connor is behind by roughly 1,500 votes. The Green Party candidate received 1,100 votes, according to Salon.
The tension between Democrats and the Green Party can be seen in Nancy Keenan’s statement to the Independent Record. Keenan is the executive director of the Montana Democrats.
“Today’s ruling is a win for Montanans against the tactics of out-of-state, Republican dark money groups that are blatantly trying to interfere in Montana’s democracy,” she said.
“I was disappointed,” responded Breck to the Independent Record. “The voter suppression by the Democrats is quite blatant.”
Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein is blamed by some for splitting the Democratic vote during the 2016 election, contributing to President Donald Trump’s victory, according to Politico.