April 14, 2010

SHEEP LEARN TO LOVE THE SHEARS:

GOP operatives crash the tea party (KENNETH P. VOGEL, 4/14/10, Politico)

Aided by campaign-style advance work and event planning, slick ads cut by Russo Marsh, impressive crowds and a savvy media operation, the political action committee run by Wierzbicki, Russo Marsh founder Sal Russo and a handful of other Republican operatives has also emerged as among the prolific fundraising vehicles under the tea party banner. Known as Our Country Deserves Better when it was founded during the 2008 election as a vehicle to oppose Barack Obama’s campaign for president, the PAC saw its fundraising more than quadruple after it took the Tea Party Express public in July, raising nearly $2.7 million in roughly the following six months, compared with less than $600,000 in the preceding six months, according to Federal Election Commission filings.

Its fundraising success has made the PAC — which formally filed with the FEC in October to change its name to “Our Country Deserves Better PAC–TeaPartyExpress.org” — a power player in the tea party and beyond, airing hundreds of thousands of dollars in ads supporting Republican campaigns such as Scott Brown’s successful special election for Senate in Massachusetts and blasting Democratic ones, such as Senate Majority Leader Reid’s reelection bid in Nevada.

And that fundraising success has also meant a brisk business for Russo March, which essentially runs the PAC. In that capacity, Russo Marsh and a sister firm called King Media Group have received $1.9 million of the $4.1 million in payments made by the committee — a financial relationship that is not uncommon between political action committees run by consultants and their consulting firms.

Posted by Orrin Judd at April 14, 2010 4:04 PM
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