When conservative Christian publications take the time to publish columns about political consultants eating through small donors’ contributions, you know it’s gotten bad. That’s exactly what happened today.
Christian Post named Dan Backer specifically:
The Center for Public Integrity, which has been investigating the spending habits of 300 super PACs and hybrid PACs, concluded, “Many of these committees operated as piggy banks for golf expenses and steakhouse soirees or vehicles for filling the bank accounts of consulting firms and super PAC executives.”
Dan Backer is the treasurer of about 40 political hybrid PACs that have popped up recently. According to The Washington Post, he is an attorney who came up with the concept of hybrid PACs and was the lead attorney responsible for getting them legalized. His PACs, which include the Stop Hillary PAC, have raised millions of dollars, but very little of it has gone to benefit candidates.
We could have helped the Christian Post with their research on Mr. Backer. There’s a wealth of information right here at BU.
We are waiting for the July report from Tea Party Leadership Fund, which is the primary fund managed by Backer in addition to the Stop Hillary PAC, but what we see so far is thousands of dollars paid out for consultants, list rentals, strategy consulting, and other non-election expenses, including a hefty monthly sum to Mr. Backer from the Tea Party Leadership Fund.
Independent expenditures have been made for mailings and online ads, which are intended to raise more funds in order to enrich more consultants. Primary beneficiaries are Campaign Solutions, a mainstream Republican fundraising outfit, Infocision, and Minnesota-based direct response company Strategic Fundraising.
Although the Christian Post engaged in a bit of “both sides” delusion, their overall conclusion is sound.
There is an easy solution, according to Congressman David Schweikert (R-Ariz). Copy what charities do. An independent umbrella organization similar to Charity Navigator or Charity Checker should be set up to rate and review the Super PACs and hybrid PACs. If there is a millionaire out there looking for a philanthropic project to take on, now is the time to jump in first and become the expert here. Until then, voters are probably better off donating directly to candidates.
I couldn’t agree more.