NV-Sen: Base Connect Snares a Big One: Sharron Angle

This is wild:

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.  

SSP Daily Digest: 3/16 (Morning Edition)

Our twice-daily digests are also open threads for any campaign-related news you might have. Interesting/helpful links always appreciated!

  • AR-Sen: State Sen. Gilbert Baker is jumping all over GOP primary opponent Rep. John Boozman for his extensive travels abroad on the taxpayer dime. In a statement, Baker promised that, as senator, he will be sure to visit Paris, London, and England – all towns in Arkansas.
  • CA-Sen: NOM, NOM, NOM. The haters at the National Organization for (Heterosexual-Only) Marriage have launched an ad campaign attacking Republican ex-Rep. Tom Campbell for supporting gay marriage. CQ describes it as a statewide ad buy, but at only $275,000, that doesn’t get you very much in California. Meanwhile, Carlyfornia has drunk the winger kool-aid – while she supported cap-and-trade when stumping for John McCain two years ago, now she’s against it. Of course.
  • FL-Sen: Heh – PPP asked Floridians who their favorite governors are out of the last five to hold office. Only 4% of Republicans answered Charlie Crist – fewer than the number who named either Dem Bob Graham or Dem Lawton Chiles.
  • PA-Sen: Republican pollster Susquehanna has GOPer Pat Toomey up over Arlen Specter by 42-36, in contrast to recent polls by Quinnipiac and Research 2000 showing Specter leading by that margin. Susquehanna didn’t poll the Dem primary, though, and more weirdly, they didn’t even test Joe Sestak against Toomey. Huh?
  • FL-22: Toward the bottom of an interesting, in-depth look at Base Connect (the sketchy GOP consultants formerly known as BMW Direct), Dave Weigel has a good catch. It turns out that the much-hyped vet Allen West is also a BMW client. He’s raised $1.2 million this cycle, an extraordinary sum for a challenger, but check out that burn rate – he’s spent over $500,000 so far. His opponent, Rep. Ron Klein, has only spent $95K. West still has a lot of cash on hand, but this revelation changes the picture somewhat.
  • NY-13: SEIU chief Andy Stern says that his organization will back independent candidacies against House Dems who vote against healthcare. It seems that Stern would prefer to challenge wayward Dems in primaries, but many filing deadlines have already passed. However, the one actual “nay” vote Stern cites, Rep. Mike McMahon, serves in New York, where the filing deadline does not close for quite some time. (And as per yesterday’s bullet, the Working Families Party said they won’t give their line to McMahon either.)
  • PA-06: The Pennsylvania SEIU, which just endorsed Arlen Specter, also gave their backing to Dem Doug Pike in his primary against Manan Trivedi.
  • Census: I received my 2010 Census form last night. Have you gotten yours yet?
  • Congress: Congress.org takes a look at former staffers who now occupy seats of their own on the Hill and notes that their ranks have been increasing since World War II. At least six staffers are running for office this year.
  • Lulz: Hard to believe, but disgraced and discredited “pollster” Strategic Vision claims to have undertaken a survey of the Georgia governor’s race. Even sadder, a flack for outgoing Gov. Sonny Perdue actually emailed around the “results” to reporters. Still waiting for that lawsuit against Nate Silver.
  • Teabagging: Virginia Thomas, the wife of none other than Sup. Ct. Justice Clarence Thomas, has formed a new lobbying company to exploit capitalize on teabagger sentiment. The LAT notes:
  • As a 501(c)(4) nonprofit, Liberty Central can raise unlimited amounts of corporate money and largely avoid disclosing its donors.

    Because of a recent Supreme Court decision, Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission, the group may also spend corporate money freely to advocate for or against candidates for office.

    Justice Thomas was part of the 5-4 majority in that case.

  • SSP: We have 287 fans on le Facebook so far. Pretty please take us to 300? I ain’t too proud to beg.