Zinke Cooks the Books to Raise Fundraising Numbers
(Helena, MT) - Last night, former super PAC chairman Ryan Zinke announced his quarterly fundraising numbers and Montanans could smell something fishy going on.
A quick look at Zinke’s Federal Election Commission disbursements log shows the truth behind Zinke’s numbers. Zinke hires shady, out-of-state consultants and fundraising shops to raise money at an astounding rate, but the companies keep over 80% of the money they raise.
This political Ponzi scheme is designed to keep fundraising numbers looking good while lining the pockets of political allies and consultants. Zinke spent more than $421,000 on these out-of-state fundraising firms, which equates to nearly one-third of his total disbursements.
Century Data Mailing Service/Systems Corp: $138,436
O’Neill Marketing Co.: $74,686
Capitol Caging: $22,539
Consolidated Mailing Service: $21,290
Lukens Company: $16,163
Bellwether Consulting Group: $9,895
SMS Direct: $5,936
Donor Bureau: $846
Sara Myers Group: $260
McIntosh Company: $440
“Ryan Zinke is pulling a play out of his SOFA PAC chairmanship playbook. These numbers ring hollow, Zinke is just trying to relive his glory days from when he ran a dark-money super PAC,” said Bryan Watt, a Montana Democratic Party spokesperson. “Zinke thinks he can buy this election with out-of-state money but Montanans know the difference between a show horse and a workhorse, and Ryan Zinke has all the fancy trappings big money donors in Texas and California can buy.”
- Century Data Mailing Services Tied to “Shady” Company-Base Connect. Century Data and Mailing Service is partnered with the “shady” firm Base Connect. “The catch is that as much 75 or 80 or even 95 percent of the money raised is paid back to Base Connect and its “partner” companies (which are based in the same suite in the same building just off K Street in Washington). GOP consultant Bill Pascoe dubbed this “subprime fundraising.” And Erick Erickson once said that candidates who use the firm are in danger of losing RedState’s endorsement, presumably because conservative donors’ money is going to a fundraising agency rather than actually helping the cause. Rep. Joseph Cao (R-LA) dropped all ties with Base Connect after Talking Points Memo reported in March he was paying the firm 75 percent in fundraising fees.” [Salon, 6/08/10; Political Smokeout, 2/11/14]
- Base Connect and Century Data Mailing Services Share Same Address. “Most of the money raised by these committees goes to direct mail companies in the Washington area, including Base Connect, which lists Mr. MacKenzie’s company as a ‘strategic partner’ on its website and Century Data Mailing Services, which shares an address with Base Connect.” [NY Times, 5/06/14]
- Base Connect Called Out for Retaining Most of the Money Fundraised. “For more than a decade Scott Mackenzie, Base Connect and their partners have raised millions for candidates like Rocky Raczkowski of Michigan and tens of millions for causes like the Conservative Strikeforce and Black Republican PAC.The issue isn't their political views, it's what happens to the money.” [My Fox Detroit, 7/23/14]
- Base Connect-“Century Data Mailing Services” Known for Retaining Most of the Money Raised. “Those numbers were first noted last week in a blog post by Bill Pascoe, a veteran Republican consultant, who declared, very slightly inflating Base Connect's take: ‘Keeping 82 cents out of every dollar you gross isn't fundraising, it's highway robbery. You might as well call it subprime fundraising.’” [Talking Points Memo, 3/08/10]
- Base Connect “Received Much Attention…For Raising Money For Less-Than Competitive Republican Candidates.”“Another company that works in political direct mailing campaigns has received much attention in recent election cycles for raising money for less-than-competitive Republican candidates who spend most of their donations raising money. Base Connect, formerly known as BMW Direct, is run by Kimberly Bellissimo, who worked for 13 years with Eberle Direct Marketing Group.”[Washington Post, 4/17/14]
- Listed as One of Worst Charity Solicitor. Base Connect was listed as one of the worst charity fundraising solicitor for taking most of the money fundraised for charities like the Disabled Police Officers of America. [Tampabay, accessed10/16/14]
- “Under the Guise of Veterans, Vendors Take Most Funds.” [Roll Call, 11/13/13]
- Century Data Mailing Services Used by Zinke’s SOFA Pac. Century Data Mailing Services is used by Zinke’s Super PAC, SOFA PAC. [Bozeman Daily Chronicle, 7/31/14]