Campaign to Defeat Barack Obama PAC

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The Campaign to Defeat Barack Obama PAC is a Super PAC incorporated on April of 2011. [1] Most of their personnel including their management appears to have broken from the larger State Tea Party Express and Their site states that their mission is simply "making sure conservatives win the 2012 Presidential election" [2]

Political Activities

In 2011, the campaign produced spate of issue ads in conjunction with the State Tea Party Express. The ads urged the senate to repeal the Affordable Health Care Act [3] and attacked Obama's record on the economy and foreign policy. [4]. The Group also sponsored attack ads against Mitt Romney that aired in Iowa in October of 2011. The ad, entitled "Liberal Mitt's greatest Hits" attacks Romney for his flip-flops on fiscal policy, equal pay for women, and abortiion. [5]

The Campaign officially endorsed Republican Presidential Candidate Newt Gingrich on Janurary 29th, 2012. [6]. The Campaign produced television ads highlighting Gingrich's Record, [7] and Radio ads claiming that Newt Gingrich was "the conservative choice for president" over fellow Republican primary challenger Mitt Romney. [8]

Campaign to Defeat Barack Obama Raises Funds Off Colorado Tragedy

On July 20, hours after the horrific shooting in Aurora, Colorado, the Campaign to Defeat Barack Obama sent an email to supporters with the subject line "OUTRAGEOUS: Media Tries to Blame Tea Party for Colorado Shooting."

"We can't let the media get away with their attempts to smear the tea party," the email read, with a link to a Breitbart.com story claiming ABC News "tried to falsely blame the tea party for the Colorado massacre." (What actually happened is that in the scramble to ID the killer, ABC briefly noted it had found a profile of a man on a Tea Party website with the same name as the shooter and in the same city.) "Please help us fight back by supporting the most prominent tea party candidate in America right now -- conservative Republican Ted Cruz. CLICK HERE to CONTRIBUTE."

The dollars raised will disproportionately flow into the pockets of the group's leaders. [9]

Unregistered Involvement in the 2011-2012 Wisconsin Recall

The Campaign to Defeat Barack Obama PAC made radio and television ad buys in 2011 to influence the Wisconsin Senate Recall, and has focused a much of its 2012 spending on the Wisconsin Gubernatorial Recall effort, running ads in support of Scott Walker and Attacking President Barack Obama. In April of 2012, they sponsored television ads in the Milwaukee and Green Bay Markets attacking Obama's record and contrasting it with the record of Walker. Their ads also claim that Obama is trying to interfere with Wisconsin Politics through his "Political machine" that "bussed in protestors who stormed the state capitol and vandalized the building". The ad claims that Walker is "Saving our State". The Campaign to Defeat Barack Obama is not registered to make political expenditures in Wisconsin, which makes their spending difficult to track. Political Action Groups like the Campaign to Defeat Barack Obama are legally required to register with a state if they want to make expenditures to directly influence its elections.

"Reject Obama", August 2011

Their spending in the 2011 recall race has been estimated at $25,000 [10] but their 2012 expenditures are probably much higher. As an unregistered PAC, their numbers cannot be known precisely.

"Michael Reagan and Wisconsinites Speak Out for Scott Walker, May 2012"

In late April, 2012, The American Prospect Contacted the Campaign's leadership, which they described as resembling "the Campaign to Support Scott Walker" due to their frequent email blasts denouncing the recall. Joe Wierzbicki, one of the group's leaders, responded by saying that "The reason we've been so focused on Wisconsin is that the ramifications of the RECALL election are huge. There are ten Electoral Votes at stake here in Wisconsin, and this will likely be one of the most important swing states come November." [11]. The group frequently links its cause with the Walker Recall: as of May 31st, one of its Donation Pages requests that the viewer "Make a contribution now to stand with Scott Walker and help win this critical 2012 battle".

In the final week of the recall election, the group aired a new ad featuring Michael Reagan, the son of Ronald Reagan. Reagan encourages the listener to "Win This One for the Gipper" and closes with an image of Ronald Reagan Saluting towards Scott Walker. [12]


Leadership

The Group reports that they are led by several semi-prominent Tea Party celebrities including Singer-Songwriter Lloyd Marcus, Florida Talk Show Host Andrea Shea King, and PR Expert Joe Wierzbicki, who seems to function as the group's media spokesperson. [13]. Marcus is the author of several books including "Confessions of a Black Conservative" [14]. He describes himself as a "Entertainer/Spokesperson" for the American Tea Party Movement and a "(black) unhyphenated American". King is a talk show host and writer from central Florida who has been a very vocal supporter of the State Tea Party Express. [15]. She and the Tea Party Express toured Wisconsin in the summer of 2011 in order to "save Wisconsin Republican state senators from recall". [16]. Wierzbicki is the coordinator of several other SuperPACs including Our Country Deserves Better and Move America Forward [17]

Funding and spending.

The FEC reports that the Campaign Received about 1.3 million in contributions the 2011-2012 year, all in amounts smaller than 5,000. Their expenses in that period amounted to $724,000 [18]. Investigat

73% of Funds Raised Go to CDBO Leaders, Consulting Firm

CDBO, a Political Action Committee (PAC) registered with the FEC, reports that it has raised $1,242,360 in the first half of 2012, much of it from small donors giving $50 or $100. (It has spent about the same amount during that period, $1,216,665.) CDBO seems to raise these funds through a steady stream of broad-based fundraising appeals like email blasts and online ads, which warn people of the dangers of a second term for President Obama, and suggest the best way to make Obama a one-term president is to donate to CDBO.

The majority (seventy-three percent) of the funds raised by CDBO in the first half of 2012 has gone to CDBO Executive Director Joe Wierzbicki, his consulting firm Russo Marsh, and CDBO Vice-President Ryan Gill. More than thirty-three percent of the dollars CDBO raised from the Tea Party faithful has gone into the pockets of Wierzbicki and Gill, largely for "fundraising commissions" or "consulting fees."

A review of CDBO's filings with the FEC from January 1 through June 31, 2012 demonstrate that the PAC's leaders are profiting significantly from the group's aggressive fundraising.

During that half-year period, Wierzbicki received $227,032 from CDBO (18.3 percent of what was raised). Of that total, he received $114,892 in fundraising commissions -- which means he took a 9.25 percent cut from the dollars raised during that period. He was also paid consulting fees. And he was reimbursed for travel and lodging, plus given several thousand for "Facebook advertising." His fees appear to be in addition to whatever salary he may earn as Executive Director of the organization.

Other CDBO leaders are also profiting from CDBO's aggressive fundraising. In just the first half of 2012, CDBO Vice-President Ryan Gill has received $183,468 in consulting fees, fundraising commissions, and payments for online advertisements, which is almost 15 percent of the total raised in that period.

Additionally, Russo Marsh & Associates, where Wierzbicki is a principal/partner, was paid $500,504 for the first half of 2012, or 40.3 percent of the amount raised. This includes $164,368 in payments for blast fundraising emails (many of which support or oppose candidates but are not classified as independent expenditures), and $252,185 in payments for advertising, plus payments for travel and consulting fees.

Of the $1,242,360 raised in 2012, Wierzbicki took an 18 percent cut, Gill took 15 percent, and Russo Marsh received 40.3 percent -- which, all together, means they took more than seventy-three percent of the total amount raised.[19]

Contact

Organization Website: http://www.campaigntodefeatobama.com/

References

  1. FEC: Campign to Defeat Barack Obama statement of organization. Received April 11th, 2011. Accessed May 31st, 2012
  2. Campaign to Defeat Barack Obama PAC: About Us. Accessed May 31st, 2012.
  3. Ipetitions: [1 Million to defeat Barack Obama Blog http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/1milliontodefeatbarackobama/blog/4506]. Posted January 11th, 2011. Accessed May 31st, 2012.
  4. Campaign to Defeat Obama TV Ad: Barack Obama's Legacy of Failure
  5. Cameron Joseph: Anti-Obama Group to Launch Anti-Romney ads in Iowa The Hill, October 5th, 2011. Accessed May 31st, 2012
  6. Web Posting from the Campaign to Defeat Barack Obama PAC: [Campaign to Defeat Barack Obama Officially Endorses Newt Gingrich http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2839889/posts] Posted Jan. 29th, 2012. Accessed May 31st, 2012
  7. Campaign to Defeat Barack Obama: Newt Gingrich, the Conservative Choice. Television/Internet Ad, Posted January 29th, 2012. Accessed June 1st, 2012
  8. Campaign to Defeat Barack Obama PAC: "Gingrich's Conservative Accomplishments" Radio ad, posted Jan 29th, 2012. Accessed June 1st, 2012.
  9. Brendan Fischer, Campaign to Defeat Barack Obama Raises Funds Off Colorado Tragedy, Fleeces Contributors, PR Watch, July 30, 2012
  10. Wisconsin Democracy Campaign Profile: The Campaign to Defeat Barack Obama PAC April 20th, 2012. Accessed May 30th, 2012
  11. Abby Rapoport: The Campaign to Defeat Barack Obama, Focused Largely on Wisconsin. The American Prospect: April 2th, 2012. Accessed May 31st.
  12. Campaign to Defeat Obama TV Ad: Michael Reagan and Wisconsinites Speak Out For Scott Walker
  13. Campaign to Defeat Barack Obama: "About Us". Accessed May 31st, 2012
  14. LloydMarcus.com: "Buy Lloyd's Book: Confessions of a Black Conservative". Accessed May 31st, 2012
  15. The Liberty Alliance: Interview with Andrea Shea King Posted August 29th, 2011. Accessed June 1st, 2012
  16. PRWatcher: Wisconsin Recall Roundup, May 30th, 2012, The Center for Media and Democracy, May 30th, 2012. Accessed June 1st, 2012.
  17. Eric Hogue: Move America Forward Offers Email. Crosswalk.com, Accessed June 1st, 2012
  18. FindtheData.org: FEC Filings For the Campaign to Defeat Barack Obama, 2011-01-01 to 2012-04-30. Accessed May 31st, 2012
  19. Brendan Fischer, Campaign to Defeat Barack Obama Raises Funds Off Colorado Tragedy, Fleeces Contributors", PR Watch, July 30, 2012