Opinion

Stop Getting Ripped Off By Political Grifters

|
Posted: Sep 17, 2020 12:01 AM
The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
Stop Getting Ripped Off By Political Grifters

Source: AP Photo/Elise Amendola, File

This election could be close, and as such, resources will be very, very important to candidates across the country. Unfortunately, when there is an important and close election, that not only leads to ridiculous fundraising emails from campaigns (Lord knows there are enough of those from all sides), it also brings out the grifters – opportunists who rip off an unsuspecting public under the guise of helping a candidate or cause. Don’t fall for it.

If you want to help a candidate, and have the money to do so, give directly to that candidate or that candidate’s party. If you want to help reelect President Donald Trump, give to his campaign or the Republican National Committee, for example. (The same applies to House or Senate candidates.)

Why am I bringing this up? Because I keep seeing these ads run on Fox News for a Political Action Committee (PAC) asking people to call an 800 number to “support the President!” If you call it, they hit you up for money, naturally.

Here’s a good rule of thumb: if the only thing you’ve ever heard from a PAC is them asking you for money, don’t give them money.

The truth about PACs, either conservative or liberal, is that they’re scams. There are some great ones that do great work, but far too many of them are just ways to legally rip people off by diverting money from a candidate or cause into the pockets of the people who created the PAC.

Remember the Tea Party? When that happened, and it was spontaneous, if you were able to grab a URL with “tea party” in it and rent an email list, you likely made a fortune. What did most of those groups actually do? Not much, if anything. The same thing is happening with President Trump’s reelection campaign.

Politico had a story in December of last year about groups like this. They’re raking in millions of dollars and spending next to nothing on what they claim their “mission” is – helping reelect the president. They reported that one, Great America PAC (coincidentally, the PAC I see those ads for), “Great America PAC's affiliated nonprofit, called Great America Alliance, paid $2.7 million to consultants in 2017 and 2018, according to tax forms filed with the IRS, accounting for nearly half the group's total operating expenses. In 2017 alone, $955,382 went to Frontline Strategies, a public affairs and government relations firm registered in California by Great America PAC co-chairman Eric Beach, for “management services,” according to the tax filings. It is unclear whether Great America PAC's leader, Ed Rollins, received payments from the nonprofit, but the PAC’s FEC reports show it paid Rollins $330,000 since the start of 2017.”

Pretty good work, if you can get it.

After seeing the ad on Fox enough times, I went to the Great America PAC website. It’s not very current. It mostly features videos from their YouTube page, but they haven’t posted a new video there in four months. The ads are running now, the money is coming in, the election is approaching, so what the hell are they doing with the money they’re raising?

If they’re running campaign ads somewhere in the country (not just fundraising ads), and I suppose it’s possible they are, wouldn’t they do the bare minimum and post it online too?

Politico reported the PAC raised $11.1 million between 2017 and 2019. Of that money, analysis “shows only $359,901 in TV spending by Great America PAC between January 2017 and December 2019.” The rest of that money went somewhere, just not toward anything particularly useful to what donors likely thought it would.

This is just one example, there are countless more. It’s easy to set up a PAC and fundraise – spend $100,000 on mailings and bring in millions. Who wouldn’t want a deal like that?

The people who want to win wouldn’t like a deal like that. That’s why you should not give to these PACs. They promise the world, they rarely deliver. If you want to donate, give directly to candidates you support and their national or state party. If you want to do more than the maximum you can give a campaign, give to PACs that are actually doing things. If you see a good ad on TV by a PAC, give to them. No PAC worth their weight in dog excrement will have the only ads you see from them be begging for money, they will simply run effective ads for their candidate or cause. The ones asking for money are likely only in it for the money.

Derek Hunter is the host of a free daily podcast (subscribe!), host of a daily radio show on WCBM in Maryland, and author of the book, Outrage, INC., which exposes how liberals use fear and hatred to manipulate the masses. Follow him on Twitter at @DerekAHunter.