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Film focusing on dark money in Montana politics wins ABA award

Wednesday, May 15, 2019   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Joe Menden
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A documentary on the influence of dark money in Montana politics won the American Bar Association’s 2019 Silver Gavel Award for television, the ABA announced on Wednesday.

“Dark Money,” a PBS POV documentary, focuses on Montana to probe the troubling influence of “dark money” – unlimited campaign contributions from undisclosed corporate and individual donors – and to ponder the consequences of these practices for our electoral democracy.  

The Silver Gavel Awards recognize outstanding work that fosters the American public’s understanding of law and the legal system. This is the ABA’s highest honor in recognition of this purpose. 

“Dark Money” was written, directed and produced by Kimberly Reed, a Montana native and Helena High School graduate.

The other winners are:

  • Book: “The Woman’s Hour, in which author Elaine Weiss tells the dramatic story of the climactic vote in Tennessee in the summer of 1920 to ratify the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, guaranteeing women a national right to vote.
  • Documentary: “I Am Evidence,an HBO documentary that presents a powerful story – featuring legal advocates and courageous sexual-assault survivors from Detroit, Cleveland, and Los Angeles – about the shameful backlog of untested rape kits, why it matters and what can be done to address this national problem.
  • Magazine: “Sign Here to Lose Everything, a Bloomberg investigation that exposes how cash-advance companies, relying on an arcane legal document known as a “confession of judgment,” exploited the New York courts to obtain more than 25,000 judgments worth $1.5 billion against borrowers who had unwittingly signed away their due process rights.
  • Newspaper: “Protecting the Shield,a 19-part newspaper series by the Asbury Park Press that exhaustively documents how New Jersey’s fragmented police oversight system regularly allowed known “bad” cops to remain on the job, with tragic human and severe financial consequences. 

ABA President Bob Carlson from Butte will present Silver Gavels and Honorable Mentions on July 16 at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.