Takeover Super PAC is backed by:
- Joseph Farah, founder of the fringe conspiracy site WND
- Jerome Corsi, leading member of Swift Boat and birther campaigns
- Floyd Brown, producer of the racist Willie Horton ads
Notorious Smear Merchants Launch Super PAC (Part I)
Ben Dimiero and Eric Hananoki
Media Matters for America
The conservatives behind some of the worst political smear campaigns have started a super PAC.
Takeover Super PAC is backed by a team that includes Joseph Farah, founder of the fringe conspiracy site WND; Jerome Corsi, a leading member of the Swift Boat and birther campaigns; and Floyd Brown, producer of the racist Willie Horton ads.
The group says it will "win elections and take our country back from the liberals and socialists" and exhorts potential donors, "If you're tired to [sic] putting your money to work for turncoats and traitors, join us." Takeover claims liberals want to eliminate the right to privacy, the Second Amendment, religion, want to "permanently enslave the American people" with Obamacare and entitlements, and ultimately desire "a tyrannical dictatorship."
In a fundraising email announcing the PAC, Farah stated that he's "not giving my money to the RNC any longer. I'm not giving a dime to Karl Rove's Tea Party-hating PAC, and I'm not supporting spineless Republicans who lead us down the same liberal roads. I'm giving my money to Takeover Super PAC." Farah and other conservatives have been feuding with Rove, a fight that intensified when the former Bush adviser launched an effort to protect Republicans against tea party challengers.
The group is the latest in a large field of conservative political organizations, many of which are spending vast amounts of money on consultants and fundraising instead of support for candidates.
The section of Takeover's website for supported candidates is currently empty. Several navigation buttons on its website, such as links to its Facebook (which links to "facebook.com/takoversuperpac [sic]"), Twitter (which links to "twitter.com/takoversuperpac [sic]"), and YouTube pages do not work -- and a page devoted to the "Takeover Store" is also blank.
Takeover's advisory board indicates the group will be heavily intertwined with professional consultants.
The super PAC's executive director and treasurer is "Internet marketing and communications entrepreneur" Thomas Freiling. He previously headed Patriot Super PAC, which paid him $78,239 during the 2012 election cycle, according to Federal Election Commission data via OpenSecrets.org. Freiling's consulting firm Fairfax Technologies also received $18,044. Patriot Super PAC paid $374,976 to Internet communications consulting firm Grassroots Action Inc. Grassroots is headed by Steve Elliott, who also sits on Takeover's advisory board. Patriot Super PAC raised $922,266 during the 2012 cycle, and spent $163,418 on independent expenditures.
Board member Floyd Brown is president of Excellentia Inc., a conservative marketing firm. Another board member, Richard Viguerie, pioneered the use of direct mail fundraising.
The toxic background of the group's board members may actually end up hurting any supported candidates. Here's a closer look at three of the group's advisors.
Joseph Farah. Farah, the Chairman of Takeover's Advisory Board, is the founder and CEO of conspiracy cesspool WND. Under Farah's leadership, WND probably did more than any other outlet to popularize and promote conspiracies about President Obama's birth certificate (while simultaneously selling a variety of "Where's the birth certificate?" swag). The site has also hosted columns alleging, among other things, that the Obama administration may have "orchestrated" the terror attacks in Benghazi; that the mass shooting at Sandy Hook elementary school may have been staged to help pass gun control legislation; and, from Farah himself, the suggestion that President Obama is hoping to "foment armed rebellion."
WND has also been a repository for venomous anti-gay commentary, including from Farah, who thinks marriage equality might cause God to angrily destroy the planet.