Right-Wing Media Help “Scam PACs” Raise Money From Their Readers

Conservative media figures and outlets have sent out to their email lists numerous paid fundraising solicitations from “scam PACs” whose directors are apparently looking to cash in on the election season.

Politico reports today that a new “cottage industry” has sprung up during the presidential race in which vaguely-named super PACs have used major Republican national campaigns like Rep. Allen West's re-election bid in Florida to “raise money for themselves and build their email lists.”

The groups have been sending out fundraising pitches promising to help West or defeat Obama in November, but “those chunks of $25 and $50 don't often find their way to any serious campaigns to beat Obama or boost West.” The article quotes West's campaign attorney saying that the “vast majority of the groups that we know are engaged in this have done nothing for West.”

As explained by Politico, “political operatives can create a PAC and corresponding website on the cheap, drop some cash to rent an email list and, voilà-- in come the small-dollar contributions from grass-roots Republicans.” 

Conservative outlets like RedState and Townhall and media figures like Dick Morris and Mike Huckabee have been enabling these so-called “scam PACs” by renting out their email lists for these fundraising pitches.

Politico highlights Black America's Political Action Committee (BAMPAC), a group that has donated $10,000 to West's campaign but has nonetheless been sent a cease and desist letter by West. The group rented Dick Morris' email list as recently as last week. Prior to last week's email, Morris, who has used his email list to cash in on various political candidates and campaigns for years, has sent out numerous emails from PACs highlighted by Politico.

Morris has sent fundraising solicitations from BAMPAC with subject lines like “Save Allen West” on August 1August 10August 25September 19, and October 9.

Morris has also sent out fundraising emails from other groups mentioned in the Politico report, including Conservative Strike Force PAC, which has reportedly “given nothing to the Congressman.” Morris rented his list to “Conservative Strike Force PAC” on August 17, September 5, and September 24

This morning, Morris again rented his list to Conservative Strike Force, which was seeking donations ostensibly to help Rep. Michele Bachmann. According to the email, “We absolutely must raise this $16,750 today!” 

The fundraising pitches come with a disclaimer from Morris that the messages are from a “paid sponsor.”

Erick Erickson's RedState.com rented their list to BAMPAC on August 1August 23September 13September 28 and October 10.

All rented RedState emails include a disclaimer that the message is from a paid advertiser and that the message “reflects the opinions and representations of our advertiser alone.” On the other hand, the disclaimer also notes that “From time to time we find special opportunities we believe you as a valued customer may want to see.”

Conservative site Townhall.com rented their list out to BAMPAC on July 25 and August 16.

Fox host Mike Huckabee rented his list out to BAMPAC on October 8. Huckabee's email came with a disclaimer that the message is from a “paid sponsor” that does not “necessarily reflect my views.”