Missoula city councilwoman Caitlin Copple is the newest principal for the left-wing, D.C.-based political consulting firm Hilltop Public Solutions. Copple is best known for her advocacy of gay rights and non-discrimination ordinances.
Copple noted her new employment with Hilltop on her Facebook page earlier this month. According to the Missoulian, she joins Hilltop’s Montana Office to assist “in winning local, state, and national campaigns and elections in Montana and across the country.”
Copple is originally from Idaho and holds a master’s degree in Journalism from the University of Montana. She was first elected to the Missoula City Council in 2011 after fighting hard to pass Missoula’s non-discrimination ordinance in 2010, and has previously worked with the Pride Foundation — a gay rights organization — and another left-wing environmental group called Women’s Voices for the Earth.
Copple’s tenure on the city council has raised her statewide profile as a consistently left-wing politician. Last July, she led efforts for the city council to establish a “Domestic Partner Registry,” that gave city recognition to same-sex couples. The move was a mostly symbolic protest of Montana’s constitutional amendment that recognizes marriage as only between one man and one woman.
Late last year, Copple gained more attention when she introduced strict new amendments in the name of “women’s safety” to the city’s panhandling laws that would prohibit sitting or lying on a sidewalk in Downtown Missoula between 6:00 a.m. and 11:00 p.m. The proposal drew criticism from many on the left and the right who saw the amendments as “criminalizing poverty” and an unnecessary expansion of city power.
Copple generated even more controversy when addressing the amendments’ opponents at that city council meeting, saying: “When we hear from opponents that we’re just a bunch of privileged white people, those of us who don’t have penises may have a little bit of a different experience.”
In response to Copple’s remarks, last month a Missoula resident who frequently attends city council meetings filed a “hate crime and bias” report against Copple. The complaint was dismissed by the City Attorney.
Copple also gained attention early in her city council term when the Missoulian noted that she had the worst council meeting attendance record of any member during her first year, missing nearly a quarter of the meetings due to her work for the Pride Foundation.
At Hilltop’s Montana Office, Copple joins Aaron Murphy, Bob Funk, Molly Bell, Barrett Kaiser, Joe Splinter, and Nancy Keenan.
Hilltop Public Solutions gained notoriety over the past two years as a major force behind left-wing politics in Montana. Hilltop is currently a part of running both the campaigns of U.S. Sen. John Walsh and former Baucus staffer John Lewis, who is running for U.S. House.
Media Trackers has reported extensively on the controversial activities of Hilltop Public Solutions. Hilltop orchestrated at least three dark money groups on behalf of the Montana Democratic Party during the 2012, runs an astro-turf political blog, and used the dark money group Montana Hunters and Anglers to support Libertarian U.S. Senate candidate Dan Cox in order to split the conservative vote in the state.
Most notably, Hilltop is currently under investigation by the Montana Office of Political Practices for alleged illegal coordination with Gov. Steve Bullock’s 2012 campaign.