Democratic senator unwittingly signs conservative-affiliated tour bus

Michael Bastasch Contributor
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On Monday, Montana Democratic Senator Jon Tester unwittingly signed his name on the side of a diesel-fueled bus used by the American Energy Alliance (AEA), a free market energy group, during their nationwide tour to promote affordable energy and manufacturing jobs through major energy-producing states.

Tester signed his name on the side of the bus and even wrote “keep up the great work.” His signature is now alongside notable conservative figure Michael Reagan, son of former President Ronald Reagan, and also former Rep. Heather Wilson, currently the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate in New Mexico, Montana  GOP State Senator Jason Priest, and New Mexico Republican State Senator Gay Kernan.

According to the Billings Gazette, Tester signed the bus because he supports an “all-of-the-above” energy strategy, but “was unaware of the bus’ ties to the Koch brothers.”

AEA is affiliated with the Institute for Energy Research. The latter group has received donations from the Kochs, who have also funded a number of other conservative and free market causes.

Tester’s office didn’t immediately respond to The Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

“The American Energy Alliance welcomes Sen. Tester’s support of our effort to educate the American people about the promise of our affordable domestic energy sources,” AEA communications director Benjamin Cole said.

AEA is partially funded by the Koch brothers, according to Politico, who have also funded a number of other conservative and free market causes.

In the past, the AEA has been critical of the Obama administration delaying of the Keystone XL pipeline and proposals for federal regulations over oil and gas fracking.

Tester’s own record on energy is at odds with much of AEA’s agenda. For example, Tester has voted against two Senate resolutions aimed at stopping two costly EPA air pollution regulations, the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule and the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards rule.

Tester also supports carbon capture technologies and is working on legislation to cut red tape and promote renewable energy development. However, he does support more oil drilling, especially in the Bakken Formation in Montana. He is currently in a competitive race for re-election against Montana Republican Rep. Denny Rehberg.

“Affordable energy should not be a partisan issue. Next week, as we take the American Products and Power bus tour to Tampa for the Republican National Convention, I am proud that Jon Tester’s name will remain prominently displayed on our 45 foot, 51,000lb, 6mpg diesel-running bus,” Cole concluded.

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