It is not exactly a secret that one convenient feature of Ben Carson’s political campaign is the amount of money it’s willing to pay its advisors and fundraisers. A few weeks ago, Dean Parker, Carson’s top moneyman, walked the plank after a Politico article detailed frustrations within the campaign regarding the cash funneled to companies owned by Parker and his cohorts. Now the campaign’s new FEC filing details the extent to which senior staffers are plundering the doctor’s war chest.
In the final three months of 2015, the Carson campaign paid:
- $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.
That’s over $9 million siphoned directly to companies owned by Carson staffers, out of a total of $27 million spent by the campaign in that time. A great deal of the campaign’s expenditures went to marketing, which completes the cycle by bringing even more money into the Carson campaign.
Eleventy Marketing Group, for instance, crows that it “played a pivotal role in the campaign’s unprecedented efforts to click with supporters via” Facebook. But even more important to the Carson campaign is its effort in direct mail, a favorite money-making scheme of shady conservatives everywhere. TMA Direct, as its name indicates, specializes in the practice, but it is far from the only direct mail and/or marketing company to be drowned in Carson’s cash. His campaign also paid:
- $4,537,623.83 to Action Mailers Inc., which has been “serving the direct marketing industry since 1972.”
- $3,043,327.51 to Direct Advantage, a “a direct response marketing company.”
- $2,394,745.08 to InfoCision, a “strategic marketing” firm that advertises its direct mail arm as a “vital marketing component.”
- $217,916.52 to Precision Data Management, a “customer database” firm that also specializes in email marketing.
- $101,465.65 to RST Marketing Associates, which focuses on “high-quality custom direct mail solutions.”
You can understand why some people think that Ben Carson’s campaign exists simply to advertise its existence for the purpose of generating money that it might not necessarily spend on winning elections.