Exploiting The Tea Party: New Mailer From Dan Backer Connected Group Uses Louie Gohmert

tyler

A new mailer by a group called Patriots for economic freedom that claims to support Texas Rep. Louie Gohmert appears to be another attempt to take advantage of patriotic conservatives and the Tea Party base with a mailer that claims to support a candidate but seems to have no actual connection to that candidate.

The mailer from Patriots For Economic Freedoom was sent out under the subject line “We Can’t Lost Gohmert!” In fact, Rep. Louie Gohlnert won his March primary is a shoe-in to carry the November election.

PFEF

This exploitation of the Tea Party base seems to be rampant. A few days ago, I reported on a new mailer by TheTeaParty.Net treasurer Dan Backer that was raising money to ‘Draft Sarah Palin’, who has made it clear that she is not running for Senate.

Patriots For Economic Freedom’s Tyler Whitney & Dan Backer

The group Patriots For Economic Freedom lists Tyler Whitney as their treasurer.

pat-3

 

According to OpenSecrets, they brought in about $136,000 so far this cycle.

pat-2

 

The OpenSecrets Expenditure reports shows at least $12,000 going to Mr. Whitney. The expenditure report also shows $73,000 going to a consulting company called Amagi Strategies.  That’s notable because Amagi Strategies lists Tyler Whitney as their registered agent.

Patriots For Economic Freedom also has connections to attorney Dan Backer, according to their expenditure report as posted on Open Secrets, where Backer’s DB Capitol Strategies received at least $12,000 from Patriots For Economic Freedom.

pat1-

One interesting biographical side-note (worthy of mention because of the apparent cynical hypocrisy it shows on both Whitney’s part AND on the part of the liberal gay media was savaged him): Tyler Whitney was reported in 2007 to have come out as gay to his friends. That article lists his connection to The Leadership Institute (notable because people like Dan Backer client Rep. Steve Stockman worked there for years) and Whitney’s activities before coming out.

Whitney is also pictured in a Nov. 20 protest holding a sign which reads “Go back in the closet.” The protest was against a proposed comprehensive human rights ordinance in the city of Lansing, an ordinance that was later adopted by a unanimous vote of the City Council.

The Leadership Institute, for which Whitney works, supports conservative college and high school groups around the country and provides nonpartisan campaign training. It has provided funds to Whitney, who used them to publish a conservative newspaper at East Lansing High School in 2005, as well as to YAF chapters at MSU and CMU.

How is this happening?

For one thing, very few of the big media outlets on the right are covering it.

For another, it’s become rampant.

As Politico reported in 2012:

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 eager to support any effort aiming to turn out President Barack Obama or reelect the fiery West.

Except those chunks of $25 and $50 don’t often find their way to any serious campaigns to beat Obama or boost West.

“The vast majority of the groups that we know are engaged in this have done nothing for West,” said Jill Holtzman Vogel, the congressman’s campaign attorney.

And the 2012 Politico article mentions Patriots for Economic Freeedom–the group behind the Gohmert mailer–as one you raised money on Allen West’s name in 2012, gave him nothing, and won’t respond to comments.

More egregious to West’s campaign, though, are those groups that use his name and have given nothing to the congressman.

Patriots for Economic Freedom, the Republican Majority Campaign and Conservative Strike Force have all raised money off of West’s name and haven’t supported his campaign.

None of these groups list phone numbers on their websites, and they didn’t respond to requests for comment submitted online.

Here’s the complete mailer :

Subject: We Can’t Lose Gohmert!

bannerTexas Congressman Louie Gohmert Is Standing Up Against The Left! We Cannot Afford To Lose Him!
 gohmert
Like few leaders in Washington, Louie Gohmert is not afraid to stand up for what he believes in – the conservative principles of less government, greater freedom and fiscal responsibility. Louie Gohmert’s courageous leadership has made him a target of the left. Liberals are doing everything in their power to remove him from Congress! We cannot let the left steal one of our greatest leaders. Your contribution of $25, $50, $100, $250, $500, $1000 or more will go toward voter outreach and advertising efforts to support this vital Member of Congress!The left wants to see Nancy Pelosi running Congress. Congressman Gohmert is standing in her way and working to stop amnesty, curb reckless spending and repeal ObamaCare.Please support Louie Gohmert and see that he is able to stay in Washington and continue his patriotic efforts to restore liberty.
contribute

Louie Gohmert is working to hold Washington accountable. During a recent House Judiciary Hearing, Congressman Gohmert questioned Eric Holder about the Justice Department’s refusal to hand over documents related to Islamic charities. What happens when you question this Administration about anything? You are bullied in hopes that you will be silenced.
Eric Holder has made many statements since this Hearing to convince Americans that Louie Gohmert is treating him differently than past Attorney Generals. This is ridiculous. The Obama Administration believes that they are above the law and should answer to no one. We must support Louie Gohmert’s strong leadership!
Louie Gohmert isn’t afraid of the bullies on the left. He continues to speak up even when liberals attack him. Conservatives cannot allow the left’s lies and scare tactics to work this November. We must reach voters with the truth. Please support advertising and voter outreach efforts for Louie Gohmert with a contribution of $25, $50, $100, $250, $500, $1000 or more.
Louie Gohmert fights to repeal ObamaCare, end Washington’s out of control spending and hold the White House accountable for the scandals they call “phony”. Louie Gohmert is a patriot and true conservative. We need him in Washington to stop the big government agenda that is killing jobs and hindering future success.
Gohmert 2
There is very little leadership in Washington and we cannot afford to lose leaders like Congressman Louie Gohmert. He is committed to protecting our conservative principles and ending Obama’s tyrannical policies! Please support advertising and voter outreach efforts for Louie Gohmert with a contribution of $25, $50, $100, $250, $500, $1000 or more.
contribute
Also, checks can be mailed to:
Patriots For Economic Freedom
P.O. Box 90
New York, NY 10009
Paid for and authorized by Patriots For Economic Freedom- a federal political action committee. Not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee. Patriots For Economic Freedom is responsible for the content of this message. Contributions are not tax deductible for tax purposes.  www.EconomicFreedomNow.org Patriots For Economic Freedom  424 E. 10th Street, #3D New York, NY 10009

Sent

As BitCoin Collapses, Remember: Dan Backer Wanted To Use It For Campaigns

bitcoin

 

BitCoin is hard to explain. It’s a currency but unlike currencies based on the backing of a government or a gold standard or…you know…something…BitCoin was based on…I don’t know…nerd’s tears and puffery.

And now the whole thing is collapsing. Here’s ZDNet:

Well, colour me surprised. A virtual currency, backed by absolutely nothing except the fierce belief in the integrity of a complex mathematical formula few of its proponents even understand, is proving to be little more trustworthy than the Zimbabwe dollar after hackers tested and defeated controls put in place to manage it fall at the first hurdle.

In developments that should surprise nobody, the disastrous decline of Mt Gox –which has filed for bankruptcy in the US after being systematically owned and dismembered by hackers – has been followed by hackers’ theft of 12.3 percent of the Bitcoin stored at the Poloniex exchange.

This is the third Bitcoin exchange to fall already, and the hackers are only just getting started. As best known methods for compromising Bitcoin are rapidly shared worldwide and new, purportedly-secure currency aggregation points fall like Fort Knox in Goldfinger, Bitcoin theft will likely surge – and then die off, as flagging trust and demand drive its value through the floor.

A currency based on a complex mathematical formula that few understand? What could do wrong?!?

Well, let’s recall that Attorney Dan Backer wanted BitCoin to be used for campaign contributions just a few months ago. Because donating to elections in bottle caps and Monopoly money is so 20th century.

Here’s an editorial Backer wrote for Politico in 2013:

The federal government is on the verge of issuing a decision that could revolutionize the ways political campaigns are conducted and, in the long run, affect the spending practices of every consumer in America. The Federal Election Commission (FEC) has been asked to issue guidance to political campaigns on accepting contributions in the form of a new digital currency called Bitcoin.

It’s a great idea. Bitcoin political contributions will expand the number of Americans who can get involved in campaigns to support the candidates they want, how they want. It is the next logical iteration of democratization of the political process enabled by the Internet.

And sure enough, the Steve Stockman campaign that Backer was the treasurer for wanted to accept BitCoin, FEC approval or no.

Rep. Steve Stockman says he’ll accept Bitcoins to help fund his campaign for the U.S. Senate against Sen. John Cornyn.

One catch: The Federal Election Commissiondeadlocked in November when asked whether political action committees and candidates could accept the virtual currency

Here’s what economist Nouriel Roubini said about BitCoin on Twitter.

Huh.Maybe it’s perfect for politics.

FULL DISCLOSURE: IN OCTOBER, 2013 I ASKED DAN BACKER IF HE KNEW ANYONE WHO COULD HELP FUND MY FILM ON THE PLIGHT OF CHRISTIANS AND OFFERED HIM A FINDER’S FEE.

october-letter

 

 

Two Podcasts On The Betrayal of Brandon Darby

brandon

I recorded two podcasts last night detailing the recent troubles with Brandon Darby, where it’s become clear that he was working behind the scenes with people I’ve been writing about recently like Dan Backer, Donny Ferguson, The TeaParty.net Leadership Fund and Rep. Steve Stockman.

It’s understandable why Backer, Ferguson and Stockman would be upset with my writing.

The shocking betrayal is that Brandon Darby–my supervisor and my supposed friend–has been actively working with this group to destroy my professional reputation and discredit my reporting about Dan Backer and The TeaParty.net Leadership Fund.

Brandon is being as opaque as possible on this matter — blocking people on Twitter who ask him any questions about it. I invite transparency and will answer anyone’s questions.

There two shows discuss that in some detail.

Discover Politics Conservative Internet Radio with Radio Stranahan on BlogTalkRadio

Check Out Politics Conservative Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with Radio Stranahan on BlogTalkRadio

How Survey Programs Dupe Voters: Public Advocate / Stockman Case Study

sto

In Part One of my piece published at Breitbart Texas, I looked at how political campaigns and their allies use the tactic of Survey Programs, sometimes in deceptive ways.

In Part Two, I’ll look at a specific survey results email that went out to Texas voters a couple of weeks ago from a Virginia based group called Public Advocate, whose president Eugene Delgaudio issued the following statement on the group’s website:

Public Advocate is telling Texas supporters by electronic mail, by facebook, and by direct mail which Senate Candidates have returned the survey and who has not returned the survey.

All Texas Senate candidates, in both major parties, were written by certified mail at their registered addresses and by regular mail, and given nearly a month to complete and return Public Advocate’s Senate Candidate 2014 surveys. All signed for the surveys last January, more than a month ago today.

Three candidates for U.S. Senate returned the 2014 Public Advocate Senate Candidate Survey: Congressman Steve Stockman, Mr. Curt Cleaver and Mr. Chris Mapp.

The other ten candidates, including incumbent Senator John Cornyn, and others failed to return their surveys despite signing for them.

We are asking thousands of supporters in Texas to respectfully request the pro-family surveys to be filled out from ten (10) candidates who’s surveys are currently unreturned, from Senator John Cornyn, Dwayne Stovall, Reid Reasor, Linda Vega, Ken Cope, David Alameel, Michael Fjetland, Harry Kim, Maxey Scherr and Kesha Rogers.

All these candidates were informed that failure to return their survey would be graded as recieving (sic) a 0% Pro-Family rating from Public Advocate. We also state we are not endorsing any candidate or candiates (sic), just reporting who has or has not responded to the survey.

Mr. Delgaudio’s statement makes it sound as though the survey was fair and impartial; a claim disputed by other candidates including Dwayne Stovall’s, who launched a site called SurveySaysDeception.com.

I’m not presenting this article to take an election position, however, and it should be made clear upfront that this activity is almost certainly legal.

However, our investigation shows that the use of the Public Advocate survey also been misleading to the Texas voters. Without doing a lot of research, the average voter has no way of knowing the connections between Delgaudio’s Public Advocate and the Stockman campaign.

Whatever the results of the Texas primary election, understanding the details of Public Advocate survey program in the Stockman primary race will give voters a deeper understanding of why they need to be skeptical of survey programs in general. In this current political climate, it’s voter beware.

Eugene Delgaudio, Donny Ferguson and Steve Stockman

Although the Public Advocate mailing gives the appearance of coming from a neutral, disinterested source there are actually longstanding connections between Public Advocate founder Eugene Delgaudio and own of Rep. Steve Stockman’s closest aides, Donny Ferguson.

Public Advocate describes itself as a pro family-values organization formed in 1981. President Eugen Delgaudio’s own website says he started Public Advocate in 1981. Delgaudio was elected as a County Supervisor in Loundoun County, Virginia in 1999.

Delgaudio, who is known around Washington for his self-proclaimed ‘street theater’ tactics of dressing up in outlandish costumes, is a figure of some controversy. In his role Loundoun Country supervisor, Delgaudio was censured and punished in 2013 by an:

all-Republican board. In July, supervisors voted 6-3 to move all of Delgaudio’s district funds into a corporate board account. That was in addition to an official censure of Delgaudio and the removal of his staff aides as a result of findings by a special grand jury investigating Delgaudio for abusing public office.

Donny Ferguson is a top aide and spokesman for Rep. Steve Stockman. Ferguson has a nearly two decade long history working with Stockman. In thiscandidate questionnaire that Ferguson filled out in 2005, he said that he worked in Stockman’s office during Stockman’s 1995-1997 term as a Congressman. This indicates that Ferguson was working with Stockman before Ferguson turned 21 years old.

Donny Ferguson also worked for Eugene Delgaudio in Loudoun County from 2002 until 2007.

Eugene Delgaudio Lies To Breitbart Texas About Recent Contct With Ferguson

When asked about his connection to Delgaudio told me in no uncertain terms: “I haven’t seen or heard from Donny Ferguson since 2007.” This is false.

Mr. Delgaudio’s claim to have not ‘seen or heard from’ Mr. Ferguson is undermined by numerous pieces of evidence, including interaction on Mr. Ferguson’s Facebook page in 2012.

Further undercutting Delgaudio’s statement to Breitbart Texas is a Loudoun Times report in September, 2013 where Delgaudio was petitioning to hire Ferguson:

Delgaudio’s initial recommendation included in Wednesday’s board packet called for more than $3,700 of public funds to go to the communications firm of Donald Ferguson for graphic design work. Ferguson is a staunchly conservative former staff aide to Delgaudio.

There was precedent to hire his former staffer, as Ferguson had already done work for Delgaudio on a previous newsletter, as shown in an invoice from September 10th, 2013 in this document from the Loudoun County website.

All this documentary research aside, Breitbart Texas has also spoken with people who claim to have seen Ferguson and Delgaudio speaking at public meetings numerous times since 2007.

The desire of both Ferguson and Delgaudio appears to be to keep the public in the dark about their personal connection, in order to make the survey appear objective.

However, the survey program used in the primary election is also suspicious because Donny Ferguson himself created and used surveys as a political tactic.

Stockman Aid Knows Survey Program From Both Sides

Stockman aide Donny Ferguson has his own track record of using survey programs himself against candidates in at least two separate elections.

Ferguson was the Executive Director for a shadowy lobbying group called American Tradition Partnership, also known as ATP.

A November 2011 post by Ferguson on the ATP website shows how he used a survey program to taunt candidates in Eugene Delgaudio’s stomping group. The post says “These Loudoun Board candidates are hiding. Ask them to return their ATP surveys.”

Another Ferguson press release in June 2012 w on the ATP site describes another survey program at work in Montana:

ATP-Montana runs a candidate survey program to identify candidates’ positions on issues related to environmental regulations, property rights, and responsible natural resource development.

Was There Coordination?

Did the Stockman campaign work directly with Delgaudio on the survey program? Both Delgaudio and Ferguson have flatly denied it and there’s no evidence of direct contact.

Ferguson disavowed any connection to the Public Advocate mailer, telling the Texas Tribune:

“Public Advocate has been around since 1981 and has surveyed House and Senate candidates nationwide for decades,” Ferguson said. “We received a survey, filled it out and returned it. No one with the campaign has communicated with Eugene Delgaudio.”

However, the because Ferguson has a working knowledge of how survey programs work and has had a long working relationship with Delgaudio, common sense indicates that at very least there was a sort of “stealth coordination” going on. There was no need for direct communication. It’s a safe assumption that Ferguson knew how to answer the survey and knew that a large email hit from Delgaudio would follow.

So, Ferguson may very well be telling the truth when says “No one with the campaign has communicated with Eugene Delgaudio.” That very narrow statement doesn’t tell the entire picture, however.