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Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Republicans Ripping Off...Other Republicans!

This story tickled me quite a bit yesterday. It seems that some entrepreneurial Republicans were running a consulting business that catered to Republicans running against long odds. Republican candidates would sign over control of their campaign coffers to this business, BMW Direct Inc, BMW would raise money for the candidates all over the country, and then funnel the money back to BMW!

For example, BMW raised more than $700,000 for Charles Morse, who was running against Barney Frank in MA. BMW then spent 96% of that money that on services offered by themselves. From the Boston Globe:
In the Morse case, as with others, BMW Direct tapped into an ideologically right-wing base of donors around the country who are eager to contribute to any effort to defeat high-profile liberals like Frank and Kennedy. To stoke conservative passions and generate hundreds of thousands of dollars for its unknown candidate, Morse, BMW Direct sent out mailings that flogged Frank as an "ultra-liberal."

As the funds poured in and BMW paid itself and related entities with the proceeds, Morse never appeared at a campaign event or candidate forums. Nor did he promote his candidacy with any advertising, mailings, or phone banks. He had no headquarters or staff. Having never taken out nomination papers, he needed 2,000 votes in the Sept. 19 Republican primary election to qualify for the general election ballot, but fell far short with 145.
And then, after he failed to get on the ballot, BMW continued to raise over $100,000 for Morse. Quite a racket they had going!

This story wouldn't be funny if the victims weren't trying to screw the country! Take a look at the clients/victims of BMW.
Among the clients listed on its website are political committees seeking to get the United States out of the United Nations, to crack down on immigration, to outlaw abortion, and to protect gun ownership. Another client listed is GOPAC, former US House speaker Newt Gingrich's political action committee.
It appears that BMW's practices weren't illegal, just highly unethical. But there's a certain poetic justice when advocates of dog-eat-dog deregulation are taken in by such a scam.

If these Republicans can't even manage their campaigns, why should anyone trust them to manage the country?