Western Tradition Partnership, a 501(c)4 organization, was founded in Montana in 2007 and was incorporated as a nonprofit in Colorado in March 2008. According to Colorado Secretary of State records, the registered agent who filed those articles of incorporation is Scott Shires of Aurora.
The Rocky Mountain News reported in June 2008 that Shires was given a year’s probation and fined $3,450 after pleading guilty to misdemeanor tax charges. The article says that Shires, who worked on the campaign of former Republican U.S. Senate candidate Bob Schaffer, was in business with William Orr of Parker, who was convicted of fraud and other charges in May 2008 after being accused of misleading investors and falsifying documents to secure a $3.6 million federal grant to study alternative fuels. Shires, who recruited Schaffer to serve on the board that Orr created to administer the grant, testified against Orr as part of a plea agreement, the paper reported.
According to stories published by The Colorado Independent, Shires was involved in a money-shifting controversy with the Trailhead Group in 2006, and has been accused of sidestepping campaign-finance regulations on other occasions.
WTP is described on its website as a “fast-growing grassroots organization dedicated to ‘Rediscovering the Treasures of America’ through rational, responsible natural resource development and land use policy, while freemarket-oriented solutions are developed for future needs.”
It has taken a decidedly pro-business, anti-government approach in several of the battles it has chosen. It opposes cap and trade and the imposition of a carbon tax, questions the idea that humans have caused global warming, fights government roadblocks to private energy producers and combats the government’s taking of private development, water or mineral rights from landowners without just compensation. WTP leaders say it was the LifeBridge land-use issue that piqued their interest in Longmont’s election.
In press releases issued in Montana and Colorado after the general election last year, WTP proudly declared that, due in part to the groups’ efforts, voters had said “no” to the “radical environmentalists’ agenda” in several races.