Many of you will remember how Jeff Beatty got snookered by a firm in DC that took up to 85% of the money it raised for him. Our Friend Jordan Gehrke, formerly the Communications Director of the Tim Cahill campaign, now the same on the Sharron Angle campaign was the Director of Development for such a firm, Base Connect. It seems that firm is now in Hot Water for it’s role in the Sharon Angle campaign in Nevada. Salon.com is reporting that “Angle spent more than $600,000 on shady firm”.
Sharron Angle, who has fallen behind Harry Reid in several recent polls and can scarcely afford to squander any resources, has sunk $637,000 into a notorious D.C. direct mail firm. A Salon review of the Nevada Republican’s FEC filings found that Angle has forked over about 20 percent of all the money she’s raised to Base Connect, which is known for charging its conservative clients exorbitant fees — as high as 80% — and was recently dropped by a sitting Republcian congressman because of its terrible reputation.
Formerly known as BMW Direct, Base Connect describes itself “a full-service creative agency for conservative candidates running at the national level.” For the past several election cycles, the firm’s M.O. has gone like this: find a longshot conservative candidate running against a well-established Democratic incumbent, then launch a national fundraising campaign by sending direct mail to a list of true-believing but small-time conservative donors around the country.
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.
But the story doesn’t end there. It seems Salon has figured out the connection between Angle’s new campaign staffer and Base Connect.
UPDATE: We may have just found out how Angle ended up employing Base Connect: Jordan Gehrke, who was just named Angle’s communications director after a stint as her deputy campaign manager, used to work as director of business development for Base Connect when it was known as BMW Direct. It’s not clear when he left the firm. But this is not the first time current or former Base Connect staffers have been involved in the campaigns that employ the firm. (h/t Jon Ralston)
It seems as though Base Connect was NOT hired by the Cahill Campaign. I wonder if that’s why Mr. Gehrke is no longer there?