The 2016 Committee, a Super PAC that had been pushing for Ben Carson for president, and then began pushing for Ben Carson for vice president, is shutting down amid criticisms that it is still fundraising off the failed candidate's name... and also drawing a disproportionate amount of that funding from retirees.
Today's news is brought to us via The Hill:
"The 2016 Committee is, effective Friday, dormant," the super-PAC's head, John Philip Sousa IV, told The Hill on Monday.
Sousa said he "can't go over" the reasons for why he shut down the super-PAC at the end of last week, but the pro-Carson group had been under fire for continuing to raise money despite Carson no longer being a candidate for president.
After spending more than $10 million in a failed bid to make Carson the Republican presidential nominee, Sousa's group announced two weeks ago that it was transforming into a big-money vehicle designed to promote him for vice president.
Many folks have been warning of scam artists looking to make a quick buck off Carson's name, something he never really seemed to address until the aforementioned Facebook post. The warning signs were all there: little to no spending on advertising other than direct mail solicitations, lots of administrative costs, etc.
The 2016 Committee in particular had some red flags, including printing a pro-Carson book by the PAC's leader, Sousa.
However, the real humor (or tragedy, depending on your point of view) in this comes in two separate parts in this story. The first is here:
Sousa, who describes himself as a business development expert in financial services, conceded that much of the super-PAC's fundraising was pumped back into the expensive process of raising money via direct mail.
The second, is here:
Sousa takes credit for building Carson's initial fundraising lists and for the doctor's brief rise to the top of the Republican polls late last year.
"In 2013 we started the draft movement for Dr. Ben Carson. And let me ask you where he was in the polls in October of 2015. He was No. 1," Sousa said.
"How do you think he got there? It was because of all the money we raised and all the money we spent to make the American people aware of who and what Dr. Carson is."
This is how you can tell this was less an honest fundraising effort and more a pocket-lining effort. In one admission, Sousa admits virtually all the money raised went back in to direct mail solicitations. In a separate boast, he says all the money helped elevate Carson to No. 1 in the polls.
The 2016 Committee shutting its doors is a good thing. We need to be rid of these con artists.