Base Connect already has a longstanding reputation for raising big dollars for congressional candidates with little chance to win and then keeping most of the money, as TPM has reported before. But Fox 2 Detroit discovered a new twist in a report last week: Now the firm seems to be fundraising for candidates who aren’t even running.
It is the same model, just extended now to non-existent candidates, Fox 2 reported. In the past, Base Connect would bring in six figures sums and then most of that money would be paid back to the firm. TPM recounted in 2010 one instance where the group raised $895,000 for a House candidate in Pennsylvania and the campaign then paid Base Connect and associated groups $719,000 of it.
Now they’ve extended their scheme to campaigns without a candidate. Fox 2 reported that Base Connect raised more than $1 million for Rocky Raczkowski for Michigan congressional races in 2008 and 2012 that were ultimately never pursued.
“We shut down that campaign. We were under the belief that we shut down that campaign,” Raczkowski told the news station. Base Connect provided Fox 2 with documentation it said proved Raczkowski was aware of the fundraising.
The firm also raised $500,000 for Duane Sand in North Dakota in 2010 and $1 million for Sharron Angle in Nevada in 2012, according to Fox 2. Neither ended up running a race that year.
Most of the money was raised through direct mail that targeted senior citizens, the news station reported, because “they are ones who still open snail mail and, more importantly, write checks.”
Fox 2 reporter M.L. Elrick showed up at the company’s offices in Washington, D.C. But he didn’t have any luck. He also attempted to confront Scott Mackenzie, who has long been involved with the web of companies associated with Base Connect, about the allegations.
“You’re a good one,” Mackenzie told Fox 2 with a wag of his finger. He’s then shown driving away in his red BMW.
Image via Fox 2 Detroit