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Rachel Maddow's long report on conservative scams could not have come at a better time. As I've followed the money throughout the years, I've noticed a pattern to the money trail that almost always includes scammy fundraising techniques at the heart of things.
As Rachel points out in this piece, Karl Rove uses his Wall Street Journal column and Fox News commentator position as a way to raise even more money for Crossroads GPS, his right-wing money machine.
Mike Huckabee has lots of different ways to raise a few bucks. Using his Fox News show and his gig as a paid commentator there, he's launched various fundraising efforts such as this one, asking for donations to help keep the movement alive to repeal Obamacare.
Even ridiculous Dick Morris used his Newsmax and Fox News visibility to raise funds alongside Michael Reagan for the SuperPAC for America. Despite raising nearly $3 million from small donors, just over half was spent to oppose President Obama's bid for re-election.
It's a business model, intended to lift a few bucks from conservatives to pay not only for a few campaign efforts, but also nice fat salaries and perks that most of the donors only imagine actually having.
Here's the framework:
- Get connected with a high-profile media outlet. Maybe even two or three.
- Make outrageous statements, raise your visibility.
- Point viewers and readers to your fundraising page.
It's not limited to the likes of Rove, Morris and Huckabee, either. Ali Akbar's National Bloggers' Club is one of the best representations of the model. The Breitbart empire serves as one of the media outlets to conservative bloggers. For the past six months, any conservative blogger who writes about their current invented stable of villains finds a place to shine with the Breitbots. They throw up the inevitable donation page and ask readers to help them fight that villain and his dastardly, fiendish friends. It's usually not a general request, but instead is framed similar to Huckabee's: Help us fight for YOU so the bad man doesn't hurt US anymore.
Same scam; different players.
The most pathetic part? There is no shortage of people willing to be separated from their money. I suppose it's a free country, but at some point you'd think they'd figure out the scam. If not, Rachel will explain it to them.