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.
Longtime readers of SSP are very familiar with the shady practices of Base Connect (formerly known as BMW Direct). The firm, and its satellites Century Data and Legacy Lists, eat up huge sums of money in direct mail and data fees from its clients, which usually accounts for the lion’s share of the money that they actually “raise” for their candidates. While many of its clients have included true no-hopers (candidates running against the likes of Barney Frank, Jack Murtha, and Nancy Pelosi), Base Connect was famously dumped as a client by GOP Rep. Joe Cao earlier this year.
In Angle’s case, Base Connect’s fees and fundraising, while substantial, accounts for a much smaller proportion of her total spending than expected from a typical Base Connect client. (If anything, this is more Allen West-like in scale.) Still, the fact that Angle is partly reliant on funding from one of the most notorious firms in politics today is not a flattering revelation in the least — especially now that Salon is reporting that Angle’s communications director and ex-deputy campaign manager, Jordan Gehrke, formerly worked as director of business development for the firm back in its BMW Direct days. It’s unclear if Gehrke steered Angle to Base Connect or if he was sent to Angle’s campaign as some kind of package deal for their services, or what.