Huckabee’s PAC Appears to Be a Scam Too

As with Sarah Palin’s Sarah PAC, set up ostensibly to help her favorite Republican candidates win their elections but which gives very little money to those candidates, Mike Huckabee’s Huck PAC has the same problem. Lots of money has been paid out to family members and fundraisers, but almost none of the money raised has actually gone to candidates.

Huck PAC, which Huckabee launched in 2008 after dropping out of the Republican presidential race, “is committed to electing conservatives across the nation at all levels of government,” according to a statement on its website. But according to review of Federal Election Commission records, a significant portion of the money the PAC has collected has gone into the salaries of family members or the coffers of direct-mail fundraising firms.

Katherine Harris, Huckabee’s niece, was paid $165,042 between 2008 and 2013 (plus benefits), first as a staffer for the PAC and then as a contract worker. Sarah Huckabee, his daughter, received $104,308 between 2008 and 2010 as the PAC’s executive director. And Huckabee’s daughter-in-law, Lauren Huckabee, who Politico reported in 2012 manages her father-in-law’s schedule, donor relations, and endorsements, has been paid $111,274 for her work at Huck PAC. The ex-governor’s short-lived non-profit, America Takes Action, Inc. previously paid her $60,548…

Republican candidates haven’t benefited as much from the political action committee as Huckabee’s relatives. Since its inception, Huck PAC has never spent more than 12 percent of its funds on candidates or other PACs. It gave only 5 percent of its revenues—that is $47,000 of $1,063,142—to candidates during the 2012 cycle, when Huckabee briefly flirted with a second presidential run. Meanwhile, the PAC’s budget has increasingly flowed to firms that specialize in direct-mail fundraising, a notoriously inefficient process that can cost a PAC almost as much money as it yields. So to a certain degree Huck PAC donors are not underwriting Huckabee’s favorite conservative causes; they’re financing more fundraising.

This is pretty much standard operating procedure for these PACs, except for those run by members of Congress. Their PACs will be used to support other members of their party get elected because that’s how they earn favors and support from those candidates once they’re in office. That’s how you get leadership positions and plum committee assignments. But for those who don’t hold office, these PACs are largely slush funds.

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  • theschwa

    How do I set up a conservative PAC?

  • Larry


    How do I set up a conservative PAC?

    The first step is to excise any traces of honesty, ethics, and shame. From there, the steps just write themselves.

  • Modusoperandi

    It could be worse. The money could be going to candidates.

  • wreck

    The Lord helps them who help themselves, right?

  • grumpyoldfart

    Fancy an American fiddling the books to his own benefit! When has that ever happened before?

  • howardhershey

    So, now it should be renamed “Huck(ster) PAC”, right?

  • caseloweraz

    Ed: Lots of money has been paid out to family members and fundraisers, but almost none of the money raised has actually gone to candidates.

    No worries, Ed; they operate on the trickle-down principle, as do all right-wing projects.

    Ed: But for those who don’t hold office, these PACs are largely slush funds.

    Which is entirely appropriate, since their minds, and the minds of the people they purport to fund, are full of slush (or mush.)

  • Trebuchet

    @4, Modus: My thoughts exactly. I’m totally in favor of Republican grifters fleecing the faithful but not actually supporting candidates.

  • bushrat

    I’m in a PAC, the Rat PAC will help candidates realize their dreams of becoming Vegas singers and renowned alcoholics. Contribute now, contribute often.

  • busterggi

    Free market capitalism at its finest!

  • Numenaster

    Looks like the real money is in providing services to use up all the funds the Koch Brothers et al are funnelling into the political process. Anyone want to join me starting a Republican-oriented direct mail firm?

  • Area Man

    And you wonder how putting these people in charge of government budgets always turns out badly…

  • Kevin Kehres

    And the problem is?

    Grifters gotta grift. Frankly, I will not shed one tear over anyone who sends Chuckles money.

  • sugarfrosted

    @13 You’re kind of a POS then. Stupidity isn’t a reason to take advantage of people. Though admittedly as Modus said, if they give it to this PAC rather that one that actually does stuff it’s not as bad as the alternative.

  • abb3w

    @14, sugarfrosted

    Stupidity isn’t a reason to take advantage of people.

    No, it isn’t. However, there is a sucker born every minute, and two to take him; and as you note, of those two, I’d prefer that it be one who’s going to waste the money on nepotistic redistribution, rather than someone who’s going to throw more disruptive sorts of grit into society’s gears.

    I suppose it might be regrettable that their suckers are suckers; but tears won’t change that. Pushing more critical and analytic thinking in education might in the long term, but conservatives don’t like that. They fear that sort of thing as “liberal indoctrination” — and perhaps with some warrant. There’s a just out paper (doi:10.1177/0146167214563672) which suggests that training people to think more analytically turns them more liberal.