Gary Bauer’s Lucrative Web of Organizations

ThinkProgress has an article detailing all of the nearly identical organizations created by Christian right leader Gary Bauer– American Values, Americans United to Preserve Marriage, Campaign for American Values, Campaign for Working Families PAC — and all the money he makes from them by paying himself as a consultant.

As president of American Values, a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) “charitable” organization focused on “defending life, traditional marriage and equipping our children with the values necessary to stand against liberal education and cultural forces,” Bauer received an annual salary of about $120,000 in 2011 — and another $30,000 in other benefits. His wife Carol, who worked 10 hours a week as secretary/treasurer for the organization, received an additional $60,000 in annual compensation for her efforts. According to the group’s annual disclosures, its accomplishments included educating policy makers and the general public about family, defense, and foreign policy, numerous published quotes and opinion pieces by Bauer, and a daily e-mail update mailing.

But Bauer augmented this — and the considerable investment portfolio he disclosed during his 2000 presidential campaign — by hiring himself as a “consultant” for the various political committees he controlled.

During the 2004 campaign, he created a 527 committee (a type of outside political group commonly used before Citizens United) called Americans United to Preserve Marriage. Fueled primarily by $1 million in combined contributions from Oklahoma City Thunder co-owners Aubrey McClendon and Tom L. Ward, the committee spend heavily on anti-gay attack ads against 2004 Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry. After the election, the group scaled back its efforts and allowed its website domain to lapse. With hundreds of thousands left in the bank, Bauer hired a campaign strategy and communications consultant: Gary Bauer. In the 2005-2006 cycle, he took $40,000 in fees; in recent years his figure has risen to $3,000 a month. So far, Americans United to Preserve Marriage has paid Bauer more than $260,000 — and between 2009 and 2012, Bauer received more than half of the committee’s total spending.

With the advent of super PACs in the 2010 campaign, Bauer quickly moved to create the Campaign for American Values. Dedicated to “fighting to protect and defend your values-based way of life,” the super PAC raised and spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in the 2012 presidential campaign on ads to “expose Obama’s radicalism on values issues.” After the President Obama was re-elected in spite his efforts, Bauer again saw hundreds of thousands of left over cash-on-hand and arranged a $1,000 monthly political and administrative consulting gig for himself — another $8,000 to date.

Finally, Bauer turned to his oldest available account for his most lucrative work. The Campaign for Working Families PAC, a traditional political action committee first created in 1996, began 2013 with nearly $1 million left in the bank. The committee, which calls itself “the leading pro-family, pro-life political action committee in America,” claims to exist “solely to raise funds to support or oppose candidates based upon their political views.” But starting in March, Bauer began paying himself $13,750 a month for “political and admin” consulting — $68,750 over the past five months, and several times more than the $8,250 the committee has given, total, to federal political candidates so far this year.

Of course, this makes him a rank amateur next to Jay Sekulow, who has managed to make tens of millions of dollars from just two organizations, the American Center for Law and Justice and Christian Advocates Serving Evangelism.

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  • I’m stunned that a con man would make money in a long con. No. Wait. I’m the opposite of that.

  • Ben P

    He must have better tax preparation than I do. When I had to move I kept my old house and rent it out. The accountant that helps me do my taxes told me unless I went through a lot of work, the IRS would likely frown on me hiring myself as a lawyer for business expense purposes.

  • Ichthyic

    Gary Bauer…

    Brother of Jack Bauer?

    obviously this is some sort of distraction from one of Jack’s brilliant anti-terrorist takedown schemes!

    …but we only have 24 hours to figure out the truth!

  • Ichthyic

    Wait. I’m the opposite of that.

    comfortably reassured?

  • ReiKKKwing KKKristianist asswipe is in if for the Benjamins; whodathunkit?

  • Ichthyic “comfortably reassured?”

    Sure. The universe has order. Cons con, judges judge, cooks cook, and moose moose.

  • Trebuchet

    Fortunately, I guess, the more of their suckers’ money these clowns keep for themselves, the less damage they can actually do. I hope.

  • exdrone

    president of American Values

    val·ue /ˈvælyu / [val-yoo] noun:

    1. the worth of something in terms of the amount of other things for which it can be exchanged.

    2. equivalent worth or return in money.

  • Ichthyic

    moose moose.

    I prefer moose squirrel.

  • moose moose.

    I prefer moose squirrel.

    Shaddap, Natasha.

  • I prefer Skwerl Mousse or fricassee.