Patricia Wheat: Scams, Spam and PACS

Patricia Wheat is one of two candidates challenging incumbent State Senator Katrina Shealy in the June 14 Republican primary.  The other is Michael Sturkie, a Jake Knotts crony.  Ms. Wheat says she is “compelled to act in the interest of our posterity, lest all hope is lost.” 

Let’s examine that.

THE MILITARY, SOCIAL SECURITY AND PUBLIC SCHOOLS ARE SIN!

One of Ms. Wheat’s key campaign issues is strict interpretation of the Second Amendment.  Well, that and some odd ideas about how the world should work.  Following is a quote by Ms. Wheat (or, in the very least, endorsed by her).  

“Almost from the beginning and prominently for over 100 years, those living in American States have required every manner of hireling to do their duties. They seek “leaders” to follow, to create law and determine right from wrong for them, to set penalties, to provide for security, to settle disputes, to train their children, to care for them in their old age, to provide food, housing, health care, to determine what they can do with their land and homes, to determine the standards by which the children’s worth is measured, to regulate commerce, individual businesses, even the standard of water and when and how one can relieve themselves and so much more.  This is all SIN!”

According to Ms. Wheat, the United States military (and all of the Department of Defense), the U.S. Coast Guard, the judicial system, Social Security, public schools, law enforcement, the USDA, government health and safety standards to include clean water and all SIN! (emphasis hers).  Note, she doesn’t say certain laws and practices are SIN!, but the very existence of these things are SIN!.  Read the above again and carefully.  Go to the website and read it.  

How and why do I attribute this to Ms. Wheat?  Here she is promoting the website where the quote resides.  Ms. Wheat is also the founder of the Good Neighbors Project, suggesting the website is her own.  Interestingly enough, Ms. Wheat fails to note her association with the Good Neighbors Project on her campaign website.  Why do you suppose that is?

A SCAM ARTIST AND A PROFESSIONAL SPAMMER

But back to the Second Amendment.  Ms. Wheat has touted her endorsement by the National Association for Gun Rights and Gun Owners of America.  The GOA seems to be a reasonable and respectable organization of about 300,000 members (compared to the NRA’s five million.)  But the National Association of Gun Rights (NAGR) is one strange bunch.

It is very difficult to find membership numbers for NAGR, but according to Open Secrets, the group’s total receipts for the 2016 election cycle is about $123,000.  It’s not the comparative size of the organization that is noteworthy, it’s the group’s practices and leadership that puts NAGR’s endorsement of Ms. Wheat’s into question and controversy.

The president of NAGR is a rather shady character named Dudley Brown.  A Colorado resident, as was Ms. Wheat, Brown is viewed across the gun ownership/rights community as a scam artist.  A few years ago, Brown sent out an email saying he could not reveal what candidates the NAGR PAC was endorsing because “the IRS/FEC expressly forbids” it.

I’m in a bind.

It’s illegal for me to tell you which candidates the National Association for Gun Rights PAC supports. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the Federal Election Commission (FEC) expressly forbid me from telling you which candidates are so solid on gun rights that I want you to help us help them.

It sounds crazy, I know.

But the anti-gun Obamacrats who run the federal government don’t want gun owners and activists like you and me to be organized going into the 2012 election.

That’s why the IRS/FEC will only let me tell “a restricted class” of “legal members” of the National Association for Gun Rights who they should — and shouldn’t — support in the election.

The good news is, I’ve found a loophole around their legal gag, and frankly it’s pretty easy.

All you need to do is chip in at least $5 (or more), and take a positive pro-gun action, and you can then be counted as part of our “legal membership.”

This of course, was/is a lie.  A “loophole” providing the list of endorsements only to “a restricted class of legal members” AND, to become a legal member one must pay.  So it’s only five bucks, the amount is immaterial.  It’s a scheme.  What good are endorsements if the general public can’t see the list?  “Scam artist” sounds right.

This is who endorses Patricia Wheat for the South Carolina State Senate.  She IS a member of NAGR which, I suppose, let her know of the endorsement.  For Ms. Wheat’s sake, I hope the IRS and FEC have changed their draconian rules about such revelation or Ms. Wheat might face some serious jail time for spilling this privileged information to us, the umashed masses.

The fundraising company for NAGR is SABER Communications which, coincidentally (?), also collects money for the Campaign for Liberty.  The South Carolina Campaign for Liberty is also the Palmetto Liberty PAC, Ms. Wheat’s most vocal advocate, donating $420 to her campaign.  Just enough, as it turns out, to pay her SCGOP filing fee.

The President of SABER Communications is Mike Rothfeld.  Rothfeld is also the founder of … National Association for Gun Rights!  It was Rothfeld who said:

“I am a professional junk mailer. I am a professional telemarketer. I’m a professional spammer — like, a hundred million pieces of emails a month. And I’m a professional negative campaigner. And I’m damn proud of all four.”

The point is that Ms. Wheat has gladly associated herself with a small group of radical scam artists.  In the meantime, the National Rifle Association  gave Ms. Wheat it’s lowest grade.

PACS AND QUESTIONABLE ETHICS

As for the South Carolina Campaign for Liberty/Palmetto Liberty PAC, it has been operating as Wheat’s  campaign organization.  In addition to holding a raffle to raise funds for her, the group has been soliciting volunteers on Ms. Wheat’s behalf to deliver campaign materials and knock on doors.  Although on the surface that seems innocent, the Palmetto Liberty PAC is recruiting volunteers at Ms. Wheat’s request.  The email from the PAC’s Talbert Black, Jr. quoted an email to him from Ms. Wheat asking for help.  This is clearly communication/coordination with and between a candidate and a political action committee.  Such cooperation is worthy of an ethics review.

It should also be pointed out that the Palmetto Liberty PAC might be operating illegally.  The conjoined South Carolina Campaign for Liberty has filed a statement of organization with the South Carolina Secretary of State, but PL PAC has not.  Mr. Black has not responded to an email from Lake and Main asking if PL PAC had filed a statement of organization.

Why is this important?  According to state law, a statement of organization is required:

SECTION 8-13-1304. Committees receiving and spending funds to influence elections required to file statement of organization.

(A) A committee, except an out-of-state committee, which receives or expends more than five hundred dollars in the aggregate during an election cycle to influence the outcome of an elective office must file a statement of organization with the State Ethics Commission no later than five days after receiving the contribution or making the expenditure. An out-of-state committee which expends more than five hundred dollars in the aggregate during an election cycle to influence the outcome of an elective office must file a statement of organization with the State Ethics Commission no later than five days after making the expenditure.

As noted, Palmetto Liberty PAC spent at least $420 via it’s contribution to Ms. Wheat’s campaign. It would be folly to think the group didn’t spend another $80 campaigning for her. 

According to the definitions in the relevant law (SECTION 8-13-100 (14), “‘Expenditure’ means a purchase, payment, loan, forgiveness of a loan, an advance, in-kind contribution or expenditure, a deposit, transfer of funds, a gift of money, or anything of value for any purpose.” A campaign donation would qualify as an “expenditure.”

WHAT DOES ALL THIS MEAN?

A candidate for the South Carolina State Senate has associated herself with an organization that uses questionable fundraising tactics (NAGR) and another that appears to be operating illegally (Palmetto Liberty PAC) while possibly committing ethics violations by coordinating operations with a political action committee.

Lexington County and South Carolina don’t need – and the voters don’t want – harebrained ideas, questionable associations and campaign irregularities.  Patricia Wheat’s candidacy has it all and, as far as I’m concerned, she can keep it.

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