A shady super PAC denounced by former Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke as a “scam PAC” is still using Clarke’s name to solicit donations for a Senate run that Clarke has repeatedly said isn’t happening.
Again and again, Clarke has said that he has no intention of running for federal office. But that hasn’t kept the Draft Sheriff David Clarke for Senate PAC from using Clarke’s name and image to reel in huge amounts of money — even after Clarke denounced the group as a “scam PAC” and advised his supporters to “hang onto your money.”
The PAC is currently using Clarke’s recent resignation to fundraise for the Senate run that isn’t happening. “His resignation will at long last free him to prepare for a U.S. Senate campaign in earnest — something he was unwilling to do while still taking taxpayer dollars to serve Milwaukee County,” the group said in an email to supporters Saturday evening. “That means it’s showtime, folks!”
The PAC’s emails stand in sharp contrast to Clarke’s own words.
“I have no interest in running for elected office other than being sheriff,” Clarke reiterated in his book, Cop Under Fire, which was published in February. “I’m not running for mayor, I’m not running for congressman, I’m not running for senator, and I’m not running for governor.”
Clarke has specifically denounced the super PAC using his name to raise money for a Senate run that he says isn’t happening.
“It’s a scam PAC really,” Clarke told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel over a month ago. “They don’t need my permission to do it.”
“Every time I turn around, I talk to people and say, ‘No, I’m not running for Senate, hang onto your money,'” Clarke told the paper.
The super PAC is trying hard to keep Clarke supporters from hanging onto their money.
“If you are blessed with wealth, you can support the cost of producing a television ad for about $3,500. Click HERE to help,” the PAC’s email on Saturday said.
FEC filings show the PAC took in $1.97 million between January 1 and June 30, and spent $1.89 million during that same time period — $1.87 million of which went towards “operating expenditures.”
The PAC has spent exactly zero dollars on “independent expenditures” — defined as money spent advocating for or against a candidate in an election — as of its most recent FEC filings.
The PAC’s founder, Jack Daly, declined to offer comment for this story, but he told TheDC back in May that he is operating the PAC as “an affair of the heart, not of the pocketbook” and claimed to be shocked that anyone would refer to his PAC as a “scam PAC.”
“We understand the skepticism of those who assume the only reason any PAC exists is so that some consultant can make a dollar; we share their concern when we see what some of these unscrupulous hacks are doing out there,” Daly said. “But we will laugh heartily in the face of anyone who conflates the one and only Draft Sheriff Clarke for Senate PAC with the notorious scam PACs.” Almost exactly two months later, Clarke described Daly’s PAC as a “scam PAC.”
The PAC has hyped Clarke — described as the “black John Wayne” or the “Black Rush Limbaugh with a Badge” — as the only man who can defeat Democratic Wisconsin Sen. Tammy Baldwin, whom the PAC describes as a “left-wing lesbian extremist.”
“In Wisconsin we have a race that pits a bitter lesbian extremist against a courageous conservative who you KNOW, beyond the shadow of a doubt, will stand up for our causes once he gets to Washington,” the most recent email reads.
“Won’t you help us bring that change? Won’t you help us flip that seat? Polling shows it CAN BE DONE. Trump and Walker have carried this state, and both houses of its state legislature are controlled by the GOP. Here is a state that is begging for a conservative hero, and David A. Clarke, Jr. can be that hero if he is convinced this race is winnable.”
The PAC has frequently made racial appeals for money, citing alleged “roving mobs of black youths who have been trashing malls across the country” as a reason to support Clarke — until recently, a black law enforcement officer — in his fictional Senate bid.
The PAC targets potential donors through direct mail ad campaigns — which are known for being more effective with older voters.
One ad agency notes that older voters are “most likely to be reachable via direct mail.” Another says: “older Americans pay even more attention to their mail than any other group.” (RELATED: How A Shady Super PAC Convinced 20,000 Conservatives To Hand Over Their Money)
Daly has built his email list by renting other organizations’ email lists, according to FEC filings.
Email lists are valuable to PACs in two ways: it’s an easy way to ask known supporters for money, and it allows the PAC (or whoever owns the list) to loan out those names and email addresses to other PACs — for a price. Political organizations will often dish out tens of thousands of dollars for access to ready-made email lists of potential donors.
In a phone call with TheDC back in May, Daly indicated that he is likely to rent out his own email list to other organizations