On Tuesday, Dr. Ben Carson “jokingly” speculated that aides who have left his campaign might have been intentionally undermining his efforts with ostensibly incompetent spending. “We had people who didn’t really seem to understand finances...or maybe they did—maybe they were doing it on purpose.” Haha, maybe!

Actually, some have speculated that Carson’s entire campaign is a direct mail fundraising scheme, a theory that was corroborated, at least in part, by a damning Politico story last month. Immediately following that story’s publication, Carson’s finance chairman and top fundraiser, Dean Parker, resigned.

As Gawker reported last month, in the final three months of 2015 the Carson campaign paid over $9 million to companies owned by its staffers:

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  • $4,769,922.68 to Eleventy Marketing Group. Eleventy Marketing Group’s president is Ken Dawson, who is also Carson’s chief marketing officer.
  • $2,871,229.50 to TMA Direct. TMA’s president and CEO is Mike Murray, who is also Carson’s senior advisor for grassroots marketing.
  • $1,256,436.09 to Communication Manager Source, which is run by Joanne Parker, wife of the aforementioned Dean Parker.
  • $138,666.06 to Vita Capital. Vita Capital’s CEO is Dean Parker.

In the same time period, the Carson campaign paid just over $10 million to other direct mail and marketing companies.

According to new campaign finance filings, Carson raised another $3.8 million in January, and had $4.1 million on hand at the end of the month. He also paid out another $123,212.76 to Vita Capital, of which former finance chairman Dean Parker is the CEO, and $103,225.72 to Communication Management Source, which Parker’s wife manages.

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“Obviously, things have improved tremendously” since Parker’s resignation, Carson said Tuesday. “The morale is much better.” Carson finished sixth in the South Carolina primary this weekend.


Contact the author of this post: brendan.oconnor@gawker.com.