Send a Tweet
Most Popular Choices
Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on LinkedIn Share on Reddit Tell A Friend Printer Friendly Page Save As Favorite View Favorites
Exclusive to OpEdNews:
OpEdNews Op Eds

PAC donations: Beware of Rip-Offs

By       Message Peter Gemma       (Page 1 of 1 pages)     Permalink    (# of views)   1 comment

Related Topic(s): ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; (more...) ; ; ; ; ; ; ; , Add Tags  (less...)
Add to My Group(s)

View Ratings | Rate It

opednews.com

Author 506505
- Advertisement -

More than 7,000 political-action committees (PACs) operate on the election playing field, and most are diligent, effective, and transparent. But as in any industry, from auto repairs to wedding photographers, there are operatives out to make a fast buck.

The business of a PAC is to invest monies from contributors directly to campaigns, and some conduct independent expenditure efforts to oppose candidates or advocate issues that impact voters.

Some slick players are evidently running PACs to simply line their own pockets. For instance, meet Jack Daly. From January 2017 to July 2018, Daly, who serves as chairman and treasurer of the Draft Sheriff David Clarke for Senate PAC, was paid over $585,000 for his services. That's about 30 percent of the organization's total income, but there was even more spent on fundraising expenses. One hitch, however: Clarke, the Wisconsin sheriff and conservative activist, has called the PAC "a scam." He explained to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that, "they don't need my permission to [fundraise]. Every time I talk to people and say, 'No, I'm not running for Senate, hang onto your money.'"

So, what does the Clarke for Senate PAC actually do? In 2016, Daly's group spent $5,000 on tickets and expenses for President Trump's inauguration. His PAC also paid $12,000 to be a sponsor of the 2017 Conservative Political Action Conference, incurring another $10,000 or more in expenses, including $1,000 for meals and lodging at the Trump International Hotel.

- Advertisement -

Political profiteers are not just fleecing donors from one side of the spectrum. In the last four years, 21st-century Democrat s have raised $7.1 million from donors, and blew through $5.2 million of it on salaries, overhead, and fundraising expenses. The group asserts that it funds "a diverse array of candidates who show unusual promise to advance our progressive goals," and contributes "in some of the most competitive races." However, it gave $11,847 to candidates (.0015 percent of its gross) but spent more than 30 times that amount on promoting itself in the media.

One of the most notorious political profiteers is Scott Mackenzie. In the 2016 election cycle, he served as the treasurer of no less than 22 political-action committees. Some of the organizations affiliated with Mackenzie include the Black Republican PAC that, since 2012, has raised $2,512,759, while donating $134,605 to candidates. Over the last four years, his Conservative Strikeforce PAC raked in a whopping $11,114,614 but dedicated less than seven percent of those profits on political action.

According to political-investigative site Open Secrets, one of Mackenzie's groups, Freedom's Defense Fund, paid 69 percent of its income to firms linked to Mackenzie.

Sham PAC vendors cash in on the racket too. InfoCision, a robo-call agency, has worked for many conservative campaigns and causes including presidential candidate Ben Carson, Citizens United, National Right to Life PAC, and something called the Committee to Defend the President. During the past five years, political committees have paid InfoCision at least $24.8 million to send recorded messages to prospective donors, keeping more than half for their services. Former employees have alleged the company preys on elderly people, and an investigation by Bloomberg Markets Magazine revealed that the company held onto 78 percent of the donation money it collected on behalf of the American Diabetes Association. At one point, the American Cancer Society reported that InfoCision kept 100 percent of what raised plus charging them more than $113,006 in fees for services.

Last year former MSNBC host Krystal Ball created the People's House Project to help Democratic candidates. So far, the group has raised $734,419 and paid its founder and staff almost half if its income ($339,300); candidates were allotted about 10 percent, and the rest, incredibly, covered the cost of doing business.

And here's a huckster who does business on a bipartisan basis: Brian Hampton, treasurer of Put Vets First PAC, uses veteran's issues to solicit funds. Since 2016, his group has raised over $4 million, but only $14,000 (.0035 percent) has been used to help Democrat and Republican candidates. Over $1.7 million was paid to one vendor, Outreach Calling, a telemarketing company that has raised more than $118 million on behalf of a dozen charities -- two of which have been forced to close by New York regulators. According to New York state government records, Outreach Calling keeps 90 percent of the money it brings in. There is some good news in all this. Campaigns & Elections magazine quotes Republican strategist Tony Marsh as saying: "The rise of scam PACs has created new energy for federal investigators." Last May, the FBI raided the offices of Scott Mackenzie, and Outreach Calling executives have been banned for life from fundraising in New York. In January, InfoCision agreed to pay $250,000 to settle a civil complaint filed by the U.S. Department of Justice on behalf of the Federal Trade Commission.

Again, almost all political-action committees are professionally run and have above-board business practices. They represent the legitimate interests of conservatives, liberals, farmers, chiropractors, defense contractors, labor unions, and more . But just as a supermarket customer checks the ingredients and not just the labels, political donors must remember caveat emptor - buyer beware - when spending money on politics.

- Advertisement -

Peter B. Gemma is an award-winning freelance writer whose articles have appeared in the DailyCaller , AmericanThinker, and the Washington Examiner.

 

- Advertisement -

View Ratings | Rate It

opednews.com

Peter B. Gemma is an award-winning freelance writer and a veteran political consultant. He has been published in a variety of venues including USA Today (where more than 100 of his commentaries have appeared), American Thinker, the Daily Caller, (more...)
 

Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon Share Author on Social Media   Go To Commenting

The views expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.

Writers Guidelines

Contact AuthorContact Author Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

PAC donations: Beware of Rip-Offs

Comments Image Post Article Comment

These discussions are not moderated. We rely on users to police themselves, and flag inappropriate comments and behavior. In accordance with our Guidelines and Policies, we reserve the right to remove any post at any time for any reason, and will restrict access of registered users who repeatedly violate our terms.

  • OpEdNews welcomes lively, CIVIL discourse. Personal attacks and/or hate speech are not tolerated and may result in banning.
  • Comments should relate to the content above. Irrelevant, off-topic comments are a distraction, and will be removed.
  • By submitting this comment, you agree to all OpEdNews rules, guidelines and policies.
Connect with Facebook     Connect with Twitter            Register with Facebook     Register with Twitter

Comment:   

You can enter 2000 characters. To remove limit, please click here.

Please login or register. Afterwards, your comment will be published.
 
Username
Password

Forgot your password? Click here and we will send an email to the address you used when you registered.
First Name
Last Name

I am at least 16 years of age
(make sure username & password are filled in. Note that username must be an email address.)

1 people are discussing this page, with 1 comments  Post Comment


Peter Gemma

Become a Fan
Author 506505

(Member since Aug 30, 2016), 1 articles, 1 comments


Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon


  New Content

Buyer beware when donating to political action committees.

Submitted on Saturday, Nov 3, 2018 at 2:49:52 AM

Author 0
Add New Comment
Share Comment
Reply To This   Recommend  (0+)
Help
 

 
Want to post your own comment on this Article? Post Comment