Stop Pelosi, Obama In Georgia!
"...Liberal Jim Martin is the final vote they need for total control to force crushing new tax hikes, to give illegals social security and citizenship, to impose their radical abortion agenda, to take away your Second Amendment rights."
At least that's what the National Republican Trust PAC is claiming in its latest 30-second ad.
Even worse, Obama will reinstitute the Fairness Doctrine to get rid of Rush, Hannity, O'Reilly, Savage, Boortz, Beck and all the major hosts once and for all if you don't send money to the National Republican Trust PAC a.s.a.p.
Remember the vile ad about Obama giving a driver's license to Mohamed Atta? FactCheck.org, via NPR, accused the National Republican Trust PAC of producing "one of the sleaziest false TV ads of the campaign." The other two PAC ads were every bit as despicable.
But where did the Republican National Trust PAC get the cash to pay for very expensive airtime? It only registered with the FEC on 9/29/08 and, as of 10/15, had $205,000 in the bank.
Wheeler is or was a correspondent for the Rev. Moon's Insight magazine. In the '90s, he hosted a syndicated television show, American Investigator, which helped fuel the fire for any number of so-called "investigations" of the Clinton administration. The "documentary","The Mena Cover-Up; Drugs, Deception and the Making of A President" was a Wheeler special.
Leitner is a former DoD employee who specialized in linking Clinton and Gore to illegal sales of dual-use technology to China in the '90s. In 2000, Leitner and Wheeler collaborated on another "documentary", "Trading with the Enemy: How the Clinton Administration Armed China." Among other things, Leitner is now president of Maxwell USA, a questionable Ukranian-based pharmaceutical and healthcare company founded by one of Curt Weldon's bio-terrorism pals, Ken Alibek.
Both Leitner and Wheeler write for NewsMax which is owned by Christopher Ruddy, one of Richard Mellon Scaife's boys and author of "The Strange Death of Vince Foster". To date, the National Republican Trust PAC has paid more than $1.2 million to NewsMax for advertising and email solicitations.
Wheeler, Leitner and Joshua Ambush, an DC-based attorney, filed an FEC Statement of Organization dated 9/26/08 for the National Republican Trust PAC which was hand delivered to the FEC on 9/29/08. As such, the PAC was required to file a quarterly return for the four-day period ended 9/30/08. It reported a single $300 contribution from Wheeler and a $770 loan from a credit-card processing firm.
After filingseven 24-Hour Contribution Notices re expenditures, the National Republican Trust PAC filed a Pre-General Election report covering the period from 10/01 to 10/15. It then filed another eighteen 24-Hour notices re expenditures.
I compiled all of the reported financial data on a spreadsheet and summarized it as follows:
9/26 to 10/15 - $463,000 Contributions
9/26 to 10/15 - $379,000 Expenditures (including $120,000 in loans)
Estimated cash on hand at 10/15 - $205,000
10/16 to 11/3 - $6,371,000 Expenditures
Post-election - $122,000 Expenditures (through 11/12)
Total expenditures through 11/14 - $6,872,000
The Post-General Election report is due on 12/4. Until then, we won't know how much money the National Republican Trust PAC raised between 10/15 and 11/4/08.
We do know from FEC filings that it made at least $5,204,000 in media buys through the Philipse Brook Group, Inc. which was first registered in NYS on 8/19/08.
The group's address is 53 Philipse Brook Road in Garrison NY which is same address as Joseph C. A. Mercurio, a long-time, oft-quoted political consultant who is described at times as a Democrat and other times as a Republican. Mercurio owns National Political Services, a consulting firm.
According to Greg Sargent at Talking Points Memo, Rick Wilson, another consultant for the National Republican Trust PAC, told him on 10/30 that the ads had been vetted by television network attorneys and were good to go nationally on Fox, CNN, ABC, CBS, and NBC for the next five days.
But the question remains unanswered - how did the National Republican Trust PAC finance expensive airtime? As far as I know, the networks do not extend credit for political advertising and, even if they did, how could they justify a $5 million loan to a political action committeee in existence for less than a month?
Could the newly-formed National Republican Trust PAC have raised millions of dollars via email solitications in less than two weeks? Seems unlikely. Contributions to PACs are limited to $5,000 in any one year and it took 375 individual contributors to raise $463,000 between 10/01 and 10/15.
The FEC is fairly specific about loans from banks and otherwise. A guarantee is considered a contribution to the extent that a loan is not repaid, for example. Bank loans must be made on the same terms extended to commercial entities and secured by collateral with a fair market value equal to the amount of the loan.
For reference, here is a summary by vendor of reported expenditures made by the National Republican Trust PAC between 9/26 and 11/12:
Philipse Brook Group Inc. (Joe Mercurio) - $5,204,000
NewsMax (Christopher Ruddy) - $1,233,000
Intrepid Media (Rick Wilson) - $99,000
Endeavor Media Group (Bobby Eberle) - $66,000
Eagle Publishing (Regnery Publishing) - $62,000
TownHall.com (Salem Communications) - $ 62,000
Integram - $62,000
Maelstrom Technologies - $ 21,000
Triangulation Strategies (dickmorris.com) - $21,000
Dionysus Consulting (Steven A. Castleton) - $13,000
Verafast - $10,000
Koch & Hoos - $6,000
Embassy Suites - $6,000
Intermarkets - $5,000
Scott Wheeler - $2,000
Total through 11/12 - $6,872,000
What is curious about the list is that Joe Mercurio isn't known to be a wingnut and wingnuts don't usually give their business to non-believers.
But Mercurio who claims he was a media consultant for Joe Biden's campaign, registered Philipse Brook Group, Inc. on 8/19/08 through Brooklyn attorney, Sherman Sosnow. (I checked a few of Biden's FEC filings and couldn't find Mercurio's name.) On the other hand, one media outlet reported that Mercurio was not involved in any campagin this year.
Mercurio's seemingly sudden registration of a new corporation anonymously less than two months before he made a huge and controversial media buy would appear to indicate he knew about the National Republican Trust PAC's slimy, racebaiting project well in advance.
Nice guy, this Joseph C. A. Mercurio. Check out Joe's Twitter account You'd think the guy didn't have a racist bone in his body. (I saved the six pages of his account if it disappears from the web.)
Mercurio is a senior faculty member of Fordham University's new graduate program, "Election and Campaign Management". I guess Mercurio can give a firsthand account to his students about his role in putting the sleaziest, most offensive, racebaiting advertisements of the entire 2008 campaign on network television.
Way to go, Joe!
Obama's victory didn't signal the end of wingnut lunacy, by any means. The National Republican Trust PAC is proof of that. If there is anything illegal about its activities, now is the time to investigate.
(Most of the material in this diary was posted atTalking Points Memo.)
11/16/08 Update: This diary has been updated to reflect the latest FEC filings by the National Republican Trust PAC and correct some minor errors.
On 11/15, the New York Times reported that the National Republican Trust PAC had spent $3,052,000 to broadcast the three ads on television. The total media buy to date is $5,204,000 but I don't have information about how the remaining $2,152,00 was spent. My guess is that some or most of it went to the Drudge Report.
11/17/08 Update: I posted more information about the payments made by the National Republican Trust PAC to the Philipse Brook Group for media buys at Talking Points Memo.
I also made a comment at the end of the post about Joe Mercurio's wife, Jennifer, who just happens to be a lobbyist. She, rather than her husband, may have been the one who purchased the media buys through the Philipse Brook Group. What is espeically noteworthy is that she presents herself as an Obama supporter online. More to come on.
11/24/08 Update: I've continued to comment in the TPM post I linked to above about Peter Leitner and his ties to Yossef Bodansky, Ken Alibek and other extreme right wingers. These extemists, among others, are directly responsible for ratcheting up the level of post 9/1 and pre Iraq war hysteria with lies and propaganda.