Conservatives Catching On to Scam PACs?

It looks like some prominent conservatives are starting to catch on the proliferation of PACs that are little more than scams designed to line the pockets of the founders and the vendors, consultants and family members they’re associated with. Right Wing News actually commissioned a study and found a whole lot of them, including Sarah Palin’s PAC.

On a personal note, even though I had heard a lot of anecdotal stories and had read what other news organizations had to say, I have to admit that I was shocked by how bad the numbers are for many of these groups. One of the things I realized while I was putting this report together is that perhaps the biggest reason grassroots candidates have been having trouble breaking through in recent years is because such a large percentage of the money that was intended for them is being siphoned off to vendors, wasted, and just plain old pocketed by people in these PACs.

This is a wide scale problem that is unquestionably having an enormous negative impact on the conservative movement and it desperately needs to be addressed in a real and serious way. Hopefully, this report will be the start of that process…

How many conservative candidates lost in 2014 because of a lack of funds? How many of them came up short in primaries, lost winnable seats or desperately tried to fight off better-funded challengers? How much of a difference would another 50 million dollars have made last year? That’s a very relevant question because the 10 PACs at the bottom of this list spent $54,318,498 and only paid out $3,621,896 to help get Republicans elected. If that same $54,318,498 had gone to the Club for Growth Action PAC and it had been as efficient with it as it was with the money it had, $47,800,278 would have gone to Republican candidates instead of the meager $3,621,896 that those candidates received from those 10 PACs during this cycle. The conservative movement has a right to expect more than this from the PACs that are representing it.

I wonder if there is a similar problem with some of the big liberal PACs. I doubt this is confined just to the right.

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  • Chiroptera

    …I have to admit that I was shocked by how bad the numbers are for many of these groups.

    I wonder if what was so shocking is how many of these scams are associated with the big name stars of the conservative movement. You know what I mean, the very sources of “information” that the rank and file rely on, the authority figures that conservatives reflexively follow with few questions asked.

    I wonder if there is a similar problem with some of the big liberal PACs. I doubt this is confined just to the right.

    That is a good question. And if the answer is “yes,” follow up questions would be: are rank and file liberals as likely as rank and file conservatives to be suckered by these scams? And are these scams promoted to the same degree by big name liberal stars?

  • Alverant

    Probably, but like a lot of problems I doubt it’s as bad as conservatives.

  • busterggi

    Conservatives celebrate greed, lack of regulation & oversight, the cult of personality – they get want they want for results.

  • dugglebogey

    The point of this article is not “look at all these republican scams out there.”

    The point of this article is “You should give your money to my scam, not their scam.”

  • http://en.uncyclopedia.co/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    I wonder if there is a similar problem with some of the big liberal PACs. I doubt this is confined just to the right.

    Read the fine print. Dirty Hippies Against America and Everything It Stands For PAC openly states that it spends 90% of donations on bags of granola and sandals made from old tires.

  • eric

    This is a wide scale problem that is unquestionably having an enormous negative impact on the conservative movement and it desperately needs to be addressed in a real and serious way.

    If only there was thing thing called “regulation” that could help.

  • raven

    Conservatives Catching On to Scam PACs?

    Naw, don’t be silly. They are still grappling with The Round Earth Theory and it’s only been a few thousand years.

    If it never makes it to Fox NoNews, they will never see it, and it won’t ever be there.

    This was known many years ago. It is true a few people are catching on. This was the cover story on Time Magazine (Huh??? What!!!), a few months back and the example they used was Ben Carson. Carson is still doing it and raking in big bucks.

    A few of the few grownups left in the GOP know it. That is why they are trying to shorten their primary season. People like Carson, Palin, Huckabee, and Satanorum know that they can go through the motions, become famous, and make lots of money for nothing other than being famous and reflecting their audiences hates and ignorance back at them.

  • eric

    I wonder if there is a similar problem with some of the big liberal PACs. I doubt this is confined just to the right.

    I actually doubt whether the problem extends much farther than what we’ve seen. Not because I think liberal PACs are more noble, but because Super-PACs only arose after the 2010 Citizens United case. Sure, connected PACs before that could have been corrupt, but the really bottom of the barrel scammers have only had two election cycles to try and bilk the public so far.

    But I also think this is an area where more research into the goings-on is a really valuable social good. I’d rather be sure than just guessing I’m right. If we have to live in a world without campaign finance regulation, then it behooves all of us to try and be well-informed about which campaign donation instruments are actually using our donations for campainging vs. self-enrichment.

  • http://composer99.blogspot.ca composer99

    Didn’t Colbert satirise this element of PACs with the ultimate fate of his own Super PAC? (Also, the unfortunate demise of his advisor, Ham Rove.)

  • alanb

    Dirty Hippies Against America and Everything It Stands For PAC openly states that it spends 90% of donations on bags of granola and sandals made from old tires.

    Which is why you should give your money to Patchouli Hippies Against America and Everything It Stands For PAC. We spend only 85% of your money on weed. And if you come by the headquarters we’ll let you have a hit.

  • jba55

    While I’m sure there are some liberal PACs that have this issue I would be surprised if it was as bad as conservative ones, mostly for the reasons stated in #3.

    alanb: “Which is why you should give your money to Patchouli Hippies Against America and Everything It Stands For PAC. We spend only 85% of your money on weed. And if you come by the headquarters we’ll let you have a hit.”

    Your organization intrigues me and I’d like to subscribe to your newsletter.

  • http://en.uncyclopedia.co/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    jba55 “Your organization intrigues me and I’d like to subscribe to your newsletter.”

    Don’t let Alanb’s offer sway you. We can bring our whole organization to you! Plus, we need a place to park the van.

  • Pierce R. Butler

    Conservatives Catching On to Scam PACs?

    Nowhere in that report do they “expose” anything about Southern Conservatives for American Money PAC or Super Cash Amassing Mendacitors PAC.

    To find out more, send your credit card info to this email address – before our corporate lease expires at midnight!

  • jba55

    @Modus #12: Ok, tell you what, I’ll throw in a parking spot for your van AND your VW Bug. If you share your weed with me.

  • gog

    Graft is where the money is at. Just had to get the supreme court to legalize a conduit. How much of that overhead to you figure is used for outright bribery?

  • pixiedust

    They still haven’t caught on to the collection plates at churches so I wouldn’t hold my breath on the PACs.

  • grumpyoldfart

    This is a wide scale problem that is unquestionably having an enormous negative impact on the conservative movement and it desperately needs to be addressed in a real and serious way.

    Isn’t that cute; an American reporter expecting Americans to stop cheating other Americans.

  • Artor

    “This is a wide scale problem that is unquestionably having an enormous negative impact on the conservative movement and it desperately needs to be addressed in a real and serious way.”

    Except that this is a feature of the conservative movement, not a bug. The main point of conservatism today is to delude the rank & file into voting against their own interests and support their filthy rich masters. To address it, they would need to give those masters the boot, which is exactly what us damn dirty libtards want them to do.

  • http://thebronzeblog.wordpress.com/ Bronze Dog

    Right Wing News actually commissioned a study and found a whole lot of them, including Sarah Palin’s PAC.

    It’s been extremely obvious to me that Palin was milking the conservative base, but there’s some satisfaction in hearing it was confirmed in a study. There’s also a bit more in that it was conservatives who commissioned it. The prospect of conservatives getting their funding to the actual campaigns as a result of systematic reform is troubling, but probably unlikely.

  • steves

    I think it would be terrible for conservatives to stop wasting money on scam PACs and instead send money to more effective conservative PACs.

  • blf

    steves@20, Kindof depends on who is behind the scamPAC. If it’s a garden-variety conartist or the Kochroach brothers, that’s one thing, but if it’s the NRA, or KKK, or so on, that’s a different matter entirely. Whilst I wouldn’t want to donate funds to conartist or a Kochroach, I do take your point that’s probably not-as-bad-as it going to a teathug or similar.

    All that is ignoring the presumably illegal case of a religious organization (or other tax-exempt entity which is supposed to stay out of politics) being behind the scamPAC…