Lately, Thomas Massie’s friends and supporters have been coming to us left and right to distance themselves from the Super PAC that backed him. Two went so far as to name Preston Bates personally. Remember him? Here’s a flashback:
- Party Official Backing Libertarian Over Yarmuth [August 18, 2010]
- Ed Martin Claims Party Official An Operative [August 19, 2010]
- Good on Preston Bates for resigning his position with the Louisville-Jefferson County Democratic Party as a Legislative District chair. [August 26, 2010]
Then this story popped up and we know why:
[S]ources familiar with Kentucky politics stress that Liberty For All was involved in the election in a way that has left many observers baffled. Preston Bates, executive director of Liberty For All, is at the center of this controversy for spending so much and so questionably.
“Bates came in here and forced all that money into this race, making it the most expensive congressional race in Kentucky history,” commented a Kentucky-based political strategist. “Whether or not they would have spent a penny, [Thomas] Massie would have won that race by 5 to 7 points, according to available polling data. With that kind of money the PAC could have helped someone become a Senator.”
The Super PAC spent $800,000 to help Massie win the race.
“Quid pro quo,” commented the former employee when asked why Bates had hired so many expensive, Democratic Party political strategists at the last minute.
According to Liberty For All, the group purchased $540,000 in television air time in the already secure Kentucky race, initially to run commercial in favor of Thomas Massie and later to attack opposing candidates.
“Media buyers get a 30% kickback. The consultants he brought in were Democratic Party pals of Bates. My guess is that giving his buddies a nice 30% kickback had something to do with his decision to go ahead with the media buys,” said the employee, one of more than a dozen to have recently left their positions at the PAC.
There’s been some displeasure in response to Bates being so focussed on attracting national media attention on himself and also being so loose with messaging, recently claiming to be a Democratic operative who has taken over the Republican Party. This is very unusual behavior compared to the professionalism with which PAC employees are typically expected to carry themselves.
So it seems the teabaggers are upset that so much cash was spent on a campaign that wasn’t necessary.
The story is only partially accurate, as most media buyers we know don’t get a 30% kickback. And he didn’t work for Jack Conway in 2010.