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Hullabaloo


Thursday, August 07, 2014

 
What can we do about these right wing scam artists? One activist has an idea.

by digby

After reading the Pro Publica expose and my piece at Salon on Sal Russo and the Move America Forward veterans scam, my friend Spocko asked the inevitable next question: what is to be done? (He has some expertise in this area having been instrumental in getting one of Move America Forward's principles, Melanie Morgan, fired from her KSFO radio gig in San Francisco.) He has some ideas:
We need to understand that my opinion as a left-wing liberal doesn’t matter to MAF and TPE donors. They already know we are god-less troop-hating hippies. The opinion of any media but RW media doesn’t count. In fact, the very act of this story appearing in the liberal media is proof that we are “out to get ‘em.”

Bookmark my words, they will circle the wagons because of the “hit piece” by the liberal media and then they will use it to raise money. All accusations will be denied, and they look forward to their, “day in court” where they will be proved right. The right wing LOVES to be the victim. They even need to invent attacks that don’t exist, ‘Obama is coming for your guns!”

It was interesting to note that in the ProPublica piece Melanie Morgan, the co-founder of Move America Forward and major participant in The Tea Party Express, was relegated to the last paragraph. I expect she will go into full denial, excuses and victim mode when she writes about this. Morgan was the public face of MAF and used her position on KSFO radio to constantly promote MAF and Tea Party Express fundraising events. Besides these kind of “charity” promotions, right wing radio gives hours of one sided ‘free advertising” for candidates during campaigns. Yet another FEC violation on our public airwaves that nobody is looking at.

How do you have an impact on people like Russo who use attacks as fund raising opportunities? You go to the people who supported them and ask how they feel, what they think about the official response and — if they are unhappy — suggest to them something they can do to express their displeasure.

Expressing Displeasure via a Contribution Refund AKA. “I want my money back!”

In 2010 while reading a 494 page FEC documents about the Tea Party Express and writing about how they were sucking up police and community resources in Provo, UT I spotted a section under itemized dispersion called “Contribution Refund.

I wondered, what is the story behind these refunds? I considered calling them up and finding out the reasons, but as an outsider I doubted they would talk. But we know that these people exist and the Tea Party Express sent them their donation back.

Since TPE and MAF shared mail lists, it is quite possible that the people who asked for their money back from TPE also might have wanted their money back from MAF. For that matter, any donor who gave money to TPE might have given to MAF and been so disappointed with the group they want their money back. Fortunately we have a list of all those donors, broken down by month.

It would just be a case of contacting the refunded people and suggesting this course of action. I can’t do this, but someone from within the group who felt betrayed can. It needs to be a former donor to former donor appeal.

Read on ...

This sort of activism is beyond my ken. But somebody should do it. As Spocko says, the revelation of what they are up to simply results in another round of victimization by the "liberal media" and more fundraising. There's little hope that the authorities will look into it --- even if it's completely illegal, the "Lois Lerner effect" is likely to deter any investigations that might have a partisan taint. (That's why they do it ...)

This particular scam shows some potential for this strategy --- these people are ripping off veterans. And they ripped off the promotional materials of real veterans charities and passed them off as their own. That's the kind of thing that might even make right wingers angry.

Update: Another good piece on the scam artists.

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