The Senate race in Georgia has gone to a runoff, which means that we can’t escape the constant barrage of ads, calls, and emails for another three weeks.
Certain emails catch voters’ attention, often for the wrong reasons. “1,200% match!” they crow, offering astronomical promises that your donation will go so much further if you respond to that particular email within a certain time frame. It’s always urgent with no time to waste.
Fundraising emails like these rarely come directly from a candidate; instead, they’re most often the work of political action committees (PACs). These outside groups are often raising money for themselves rather than for the candidates, but donors don’t often realize it.
Now, in the throes of a runoff, Republican candidate Herschel Walker is shedding light on what he calls “deceptive fundraising.”
Walker’s campaign, which has trailed Warnock’s in fundraising throughout the election, is asking fellow Republicans to stop their fundraising practices — or at least to start sharing more with the candidate.
“We need everyone focused on winning the Georgia Senate race, and deceptive fundraising tactics by teams that just won their races are siphoning money away from Georgia,” Walker campaign manager Scott Paradise said Monday.
“This is the last fight of 2022, and every dollar will help,” Paradise said. “The companies and consultants raising money off this need to cut it out.”
The Walker campaign began noticing emails from Donald Trump’s Save America PAC promising a 1,200% match for donations. If someone clicked the link, he or she would see where to put in a donation amount. Another link reads “click here for details or to edit allocation,” but if the donor missed it, 90% of the money went to the PAC while only 10% went to Walker’s campaign.
Trump just sent out a fundraising email for Herschel Walker that says “Contribute ANY AMOUNT IMMEDIATELY to the Official Georgia Runoff Fundraising Goal and increase your impact by 1200%” and then auto-defaults to splitting your donation 90% to Trump and 10% to Herschel Walker. pic.twitter.com/06oAKpBwx7
— Jacob Rubashkin (@JacobRubashkin) November 12, 2022
To be fair, this isn’t just a Trump thing. The National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) issued an email that defaulted to a 99-1 split, with Walker getting the shaft.
NEW: The NRSC sent a fundraising email today signed by Herschel Walker in which it is actually keeping 99% of what’s raised, per fine print.
Walker gets a dime for every ten dollar donation. pic.twitter.com/DinXGrs7CS
— Shane Goldmacher (@ShaneGoldmacher) November 15, 2022
PACs associated with victorious Senate candidates J.D. Vance and Ted Budd had similarly lopsided splits. Once Twitter took notice and called out the ridiculous funding splits, some of the PACs changed the default to 50-50. How magnanimous.
Jeff Vreeland of the Republican strategy firm Prosper Group told Caputo that these fundraising emails are an unnecessary evil of modern campaigning, especially when one race has captured everyone’s attention.
“It’s very difficult for fundraisers to solicit money, and because the Georgia runoff is the only horse in town, everyone is going to try to jump on the bandwagon to try to raise money,” he said. “That’s what’s going to happen until Dec. 6. Unfortunately, it’s going to escalate.”
Other strategists, like Terry Sullivan, who served at Marco Rubio’s presidential campaign manager in 2016, decry that type of split, particularly when the candidate the PACs are campaigning for aren’t aware.
“Politics has always been full of grifters, and not to say these people are personally trying to profiteer, but what is the motivation if they’re doing a 90:10 split and using Herschel Walker’s name and they’re not telling him?” he asked. “It’s insane.”
It’s not just insane; it’s grifting, pure and simple. As my colleague Ed Morrissey said over at Hot Air, “It exists everywhere and benefits no one but the grifters themselves, and yet people just can’t quite resist their siren songs.”
The solution? Give directly to the candidate, and if you’re in Georgia, vote for Herschel Walker on Dec. 6.