Sketchy Conservative Health Care Fundraising

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As Jon Chait warned on Saturday, conservatives are beginning to freak out because they thought they had “won” the health care reform fight and they don’t know how to respond now that Democrats are pushing forward. Case in point is the email from a conservative political action committee called RightMarch that I wrote about earlier warning that Obama is “Planning to Push Through Gov’t Healthcare TODAY.” That’s not true, of course. But the saddest thing about this particular email isn’t the tone—it’s that it appears to be a sketchy fundraising ploy rather than an attempt to mobilize grassroots action. The email offers to send faxes to members of Congress, for which it charges gullible conservatives $19 and up. A few phone calls would be a lot cheaper and would probably make a bigger difference.

Far be it for me to tell conservatives how to spend their money, but RightMarch PAC looks like a pretty poor choice for your political donation dollars. According to filings with the Federal Election Commisssion, the PAC took in over $1 million in the second half of 2009, and spent more than half that—$540,824—on operating expenses. It’s not as if they’ve always spent that kind of cash—in the first half of 2009, the PAC raised $29,358 and spent 29,874.61 on operating expenses. And here’s the bottom line: RightMarch PAC says its purpose is to “raise and distribute funds for, to and independently on behalf of conservative candidates, and against liberal candidates, in targeted primary and general federal elections across America.” You might think that would mean that it actually gave a significant percentage of its income to candidates. Since RightMarch seems to have given $2,000 to federal candidates in all of 2009, you’d be wrong.

RightMarch is run by a Dr. William Greene, who, according to this New York Times article from 2005, is the president of Strategic Internet Campaign Management—a company that has received thousands of dollars from RightMarch over the years. (He’s also supposedly a friend of anti-abortion activist Randall Terry.) Right-wing bloggers have suggested that some of the other companies that appear frequently on RightMarch’s disclosure forms—like Virginia-based Response Enterprises—are also associated with Greene. Since the company doesn’t appear to have a website or a phone number, it’s hard to know for sure. Just another example of conservatives treating their constituents like suckers.

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Our team has been on fire lately—publishing sweeping, one-of-a-kind investigations, ambitious, groundbreaking projects, and even releasing “the holy shit documentary of the year.” And that’s on top of protecting free and fair elections and standing up to bullies and BS when others in the media don’t.

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So, two things:

1) If you value the journalism we do but haven’t pitched in over the last few months, please consider doing so now—we urgently need a lot of help to make up for lost ground.

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