One line Wisconsin governor and White House hopeful Scott Walker used in his speech at the Iowa Freedom Summit in January — if politicians “go big and go bold you can actually get results” — has surfaced as more than a rallying cry for the Badger State pol. It’s now the moniker of a new super PAC established by political operative Robert Adams, who has a history of using much of the money raised from his political vehicles to support neither candidates nor causes — but rather Robert Adams and the businesses he owns.
Though Walker allies have already established a 527 political committee, a nonfederal committee that can raise unlimited funds from any source, to support his eventual candidacy, Go Big Go Bold promises to “help build a groundswell of bold, conservative support to Draft Scott Walker.”
The PAC’s digital advertisements direct viewers to a website where they can donate money to the committee and add their name to a petition to draft Walker for president. A donation page tells prospective contributors that their money “will be put to work immediately.”
What exactly the donations will be used for, however, remains to be seen.
Although the pro-Walker committee is a new creation, the format is a familiar one to Bob Adams, the group’s president and treasurer. A political communications specialist, Adams formerly worked as communications director to Patrick Buchanan and partnered with conservative commentator Dick Morris at the League of American Voters according to his profile on LinkedIn.
The veteran politico heads the Revive America super PAC, which has led similar petition drives on a far-flung range of issues. From impeaching President Obama to abolishing the IRS to halting all incoming travel from West Africa in the midst of the ebola crisis, the tone of Revive America’s ads tends to be one of impending doom (“Even if you already called, call again,” says one ad). In each instance, viewers are pointed to a website or toll-free telephone number where they can donate to the respective cause and add their name to a petition.
Revive America’s fundraising drives were apparently a success, as the group raked in just over $600,000 in the 2014 election cycle, 80 percent of which came in the form of small donations of $200 or less.
The PAC’s advocacy efforts, however, were decidedly less impressive. Reports made to the Federal Election Commission show that just 1.2 percent of the $550,000 spent by the committee in 2014 — or $6,380 — paid for direct advocacy of federal candidates.
In the same time period the organization directed a whopping $140,000 to organizations controlled by Adams — including $111,038 to Opinion Strategies LLC, a West Virginia company that lists Robert and Allison Adams as its sole officers. The PAC’s financial reports show that those payments went toward a variety of services, including “fundraising consulting,” “e-mail distribution” and “campaign management.”
The PAC also transferred $29,500 in “non-federal contributions” to Revive America USA, Inc., a Florida nonprofit that lists Adams as its founder and president on its website.
The rest of its expenses paid for website management, donor list rentals and other outside consultants, including $206,000 to Rapid Response Television of Stafford, Texas, and $77,000 to telemarketing firm InfoCision, an Ohio company which Sunlight has reported on in the past.
As for the newly minted Go Big Go Bold PAC, we won’t know the details of that committee’s activity until it files its first financial report on April 15.
Attempts to contact Adams for comment on this piece were unsuccessful.