There may now be a paper trail that directly links the GOP establishment to the race-baiting attack ads used against tea party challenger Chris McDaniel in his Mississippi U.S. Senate runoff against incumbent Thad Cochran.
Independent investigative journalist Charles C. Johnson has been leading the way in digging into the details of exactly who was responsible for race-baiting black Democrat voters to infiltrate a Republican Party primary runoff and save Cochran from losing his seat, and how they did it. But now he’s been joined by Jeffrey Lord of the American Spectator, who was the former political director for the Reagan White House in the 1980s.
Let’s start with Johnson, who accuses the National Republican Senatorial Committee, which backed Cochran in the primary, of “illicitly funding black church SuperPAC.” Johnson says the NRSC disclosed it paid over $80,000 for ad placements in the runoff on June 20th, but there are no records of any ads acknowledged as “paid for by the NRSC” actually running anywhere in Mississippi as a result of that buy. However, on the same day the NRSC claimed to make such a buy, its media buyer Jon Ferrell placed numerous ads on black radio stations on behalf of “All Citizens for Mississippi PAC” instead.
Johnson quotes conservative strategist/media consultant Rick Shaftan (disclosure: Shaftan is a friend of mine) as saying:
There’s lots of political orders for ‘All Citizens for Mississippi’ placed by the exact same media buyer who places ads for the NRSC, as well as a Haley Barbour-linked SuperPAC called ‘Mississippi Conservatives’. But unlike Barbour’s SuperPAC, ‘All Citizens for Mississippi’ criminally refuses to file any contribution or expenditure reports with the FEC. Most of these orders list ‘American Media & Advocacy Group’ on the invoices — some list ‘National Media’ — and all are signed off on by Jon Ferrell of National Media. If they have paperwork at all. It’s up to the NRSC to come clean with their donors about where this $82,000 as well as an additional $93,000 transferred to National Media on June 20 for ‘telephone calls’ went. Donors were promised this $175,000 was going to be used to ‘defeat Harry Reid’. Instead it was used to run vile negative ads attacking a good conservative and instigating left-wing Democrats to invade a Republican Primary. If the facts are as they appear, and I believe even more will be coming out, those involved deserve long prison sentences.
Federal election law strictly prohibits coordination between groups like the NRSC and outside parties like “All Citizens for Mississippi PAC.” Federal election law also forbids the buying of votes, and Johnson says he has documentation a Cochran campaign staffer was illegally reimbursed over $40,000 for “campaign walkers.”
It’s unclear how a 27-year old Cochran campaign worker acquired such a large sum of cash in the first place. But this ties back to the original claim by a Mississippi black minister who says he was offered money by the Cochran campaign to pay blacks $15 dollars to vote against McDaniel, whom the Cochran campaign claimed was a racist. Also remember that on June 17th, the Clarion-Ledger in Mississippi referred to “old fashioned ‘walking around money’ vote buyers” working to mobilize black Democrat voters on behalf of the Cochran campaign.
Go to GotNews.com and read all of Johnson’s reporting/documentation for yourself.
Now providing Johnson some back up is Lord, one of the more respected thinkers in the conservative movement and an original Reaganite. Lord dug into the disclosure form submitted by “Mississippi Conservatives PAC,” which strongly backed Cochran in the primary against McDaniel. Here’s what Lord discovered:
Thirty-seven people have donated to Mississippi Conservatives 51 times — and 36 of those donations were for more than $5,000. Let’s just talk about these high-rollers. A full 55 percent of them have either 1) given money directly to prominent Democrats; or 2) given money to other PACs from which it seems to have flowed to Democratic candidates. Yes, you read that right. More than half of the high-dollar donors to this so-called Mississippi Conservatives group had previously given money to help elect Democrats. And not just the distant past, but recently — including Senate races targeted this very year by the GOP.
Public records tell the story, and examples of the first occurrence — direct donations to Democrats — are easy to spot. Donors to Mississippi Conservatives have also in the past written checks to Hillary Clinton, Harry Reid, Dianne Feinstein, Mary Landrieu, Kay Hagan, Mark Pryor, Chris Dodd, and Michael Bennet, among others.
Just who is “Mississippi Conservatives PAC?” Lord says:
The Mississippi Conservatives PAC is headed by a Republican National Committeeman from Mississippi, Henry Barbour. One of the smaller contributors to the PAC — Sally Bradshaw ($1,000) — is, along with Henry Barbour, the co-author of RNC Chairman Reince Priebus’s ‘autopsy report’ analyzing what went wrong for the GOP in the 2012 elections. (Ms. Bradshaw, incidentally, served as chief of staff to Jeb Bush and managed two of his three gubernatorial bids. ‘While not his ‘brain,’ she’s the closest parallel to a Karl Rove that the former Florida governor has,’one source told Politico.)
This prompts Lord to conclude the treachery that transpired here “goes way beyond Mississippi.” For example, how does Cochran’s administrative assistant Kay Webber, who makes $72,000 per year, afford a million dollar home on Capitol Hill? By the way, Cochran lives in the same home with Webber.
While the alternative conservative media has been buzzing about this story all along, until now it’s been “radio silence” from elected Republicans in Washington, D.C. Until talk radio titan Mark Levin asked Senator Ted Cruz about the matter on his radio program Monday night. Cruz, who is the vice chairman of grassroots outreach for the NRSC, told Levin:
What happened in Mississippi was appalling. Primaries are always rough and tumble, but the conduct of the Washington, D.C., machine in the Mississippi runoff was incredibly disappointing. We’ve seen serious allegations of voter fraud, and I very much hope that no Republican was involved in voter fraud. But these allegations need to be vigorously investigated and anyone involved in criminal conduct should be prosecuted.
Yesterday the McDaniel campaign claimed it already has evidence of “several thousand ineligible voters” who broke Mississippi state law by voting in the Democrat primary, and then crossed over to vote in the GOP runoff.
Grab a seat. It looks like this show is just getting started.
The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.