Tuesday, February 17, 2015

New report says conservative chumps sent $50 million to right-wing ‘scam’ groups like SarahPAC


Conservatives are finally starting to notice that sham activist groups are ripping off Republican donors, after dismissing “liberal” reports about the scams.
Jonah Goldberg, the syndicate columnist and National Review Online blogger, points to a report on Rightwing News, which commissioned a study of 17 “big name conservative groups.”
Many of those groups have already been identified as sleazy in numerous reports, but the conservative website admits many of those were likely shrugged off by GOP donors and activists.
“The problem with the articles that have come out so far is that most of them have come from liberal outlets and have only discussed limited aspects of a few organizations,” wrote John Hawkins, of Rightwing News. “That naturally led people to wonder if they were reading hit pieces.”
The 170-page report showed the vast majority of money spent last year by prominent conservative political action committees was “siphoned off to vendors, wasted, and just plain old pocketed by people in these PACs.”
Two Super PACs – Tea Party Army and Republicans for Immigration Reform – gave no money at all to candidates through independent expenditures or direct contributions, the study found.
Eight other groups – including The National Draft Ben Carson for President, Tea Party Express, SarahPAC, and Tea Party Patriots – gave less than 10 percent of their expenditures to candidates.
The bottom 10 groups surveyed spent more than $54 million last year but contributed slightly more than $3.6 million to Republican candidates.
“I doubt the average donor was under the impression that only a nickel out of every dollar he or she gave went to getting tea party friendly candidates elected,” Goldberg said, noting that the prominent Tea Party Express gave only 5 percent of its expenditures to GOP candidates.
Goldberg said he “got a lot of grief” for bringing up the issue recently while filling as host of Bill Bennett’s radio show, although Ann Coulter has made similar claims in the past about individual “hucksters” such as Newt Gingrich and Liz Cheney.
Coulter was more concerned about labor union contributions to the Republican Main Street Partnership than she was the paltry campaign spending.
Only four groups surveyed gave more than half of their expenditures to candidates – although researchers noted that one of those groups, American Crossroads, uses so many employees or their surrogates as vendors that it’s impossible to determine their outside expenditures.
“The conservative movement has a right to expect more than this from the PACs that are representing it,” Hawkins concluded.

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