I could have told them this was nothing more than wingnut welfare on steroids. Since the Citizens United decision, millions and perhaps even billions have fed the consultancy economy.
Think back to when Sarah Palin's PAC bought thousands of copies of her book in order to drive it up the New York Times bestseller list.
Or have a look at Richard "Rick" Berman, the smear merchant I wrote about yesterday who, took nearly $900,000 in "consulting fees" from his Center for Union Facts operation.
They're all just another form of wingnut welfare. Politico:
Much of the SCF is bankrolled by small donations, and Hoskins says his average donation in 2013 amounted to $37. But without a board of directors, Hoskins and his team can choose to spend with little accountability.
Such expenditures include purchasing hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of conservative commentator Mark Levin’s books to hand out to donors as a freebie for their contributions. His group also paid $143,360 over three years to a luxury design firm to renovate office space in Washington townhouses, according to campaign-finance filings.
Between May 2010 and October 2013, Hoskins and his company, Bold Colors, have been paid, in total, $463,750, with an additional $72,000 from the SCF’s super PAC, records show.
Compared to some PACs I've looked at, this is mild. Sarah Palin spent money on her hairdresser and makeup artist long after November, 2008, not to mention the book buys and private jet expenses. She knows how to live high on the hog while playing the populist.
Sean Noble served as a connector for the Koch pipeline, mostly through the Arizona Center to Protect Patient Rights, started up in 2009. From 2009 to 2011, Noble was paid $1,007,531 in consulting fees. His other firm, DC London, was paid $2,645,000 in 2011 alone as consulting fees. Another Noble-controlled organization, Free Enterprise America, paid DC London $397,414 in 2011.
Noble is but one example. If you're conservative and know the right people or are an up-and-comer, the sky is the limit. That consulting money is completely outside of the realm of accountability, too. Pay a million to a consultant and imagine how much outside help he could hire to stir up a rally or two? Not outside the realm of possibility.
Of course, we know money doesn't corrupt people, right? That's what Scalia says, anyway.