Sometimes something resembling justice just happens.
It is with a sense of extreme satisfaction that we are able to report that the Put America First Political Action Committee, the fundraising organization founded by two of the Trumpiest of Republican congressional representatives, Matt Gaetz (R-FL) and Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), is damn near broke.
Whether this is despite — or because of — the deplorable pair’s summer-long fundraising tour to extricate donations from the rubes who buy their litany of lies and hate speech is uncertain, but it certainly seems like the results of their money-grabbing schemes fell far short of their expenditures in mounting the campaign.
According to an account in Mother Jones, only six months after the founding of the Put America First PAC, the joint fundraising committee has seen its coffers nearly totally depleted.
The PAC’s latest campaign filings show a balance of only $13,000, barely enough to afford a new set of barbells for Rep. Greene and a quick hop to the Bahamas with an under-aged sweetie for Congressman Gaetz.
It’s not exactly what the two GOP rabble-rousers expected when they launched their fundraising extravaganza and managed to rake in $360,000 during the initial weeks of the tour.
One of the issues the right-wing campaign faced was the last-minute cancellation of some of its events after local officials and venue owners had second thoughts about hosting the divisive hate fests the two congresspeople oversaw.
Those sudden changes in plans and locations proved not only costly but managed to reduce the turnout at the events as they were forced into smaller venues as last-minute substitutions for the original locations.
Even when Grene and Gaetz did manage to successfully hold an event that attracted a sizable crowd — like their August event in Iowa — they somehow also managed to lose money on it.
Put America First raised only $57,000 between July 1 and September 30, but actually expended $159,000 to take in that paltry amount, a shortfall obvious even to the two notoriously dim GOP legislators.
Mother Jones details a few of the reasons that both the PAC and the lawmakers’ individual fundraising efforts are hemorrhaging cash, including a penchant for booking lavish accommodations at luxury hotels while on the road.
“Gaetz’s campaign spent lavishly on stays at hotels and resorts across the country. In total, the campaign spent $29,867 on lodging over July, August and September, including $2,300 in early July at the Edgewater Beach Hotel in Naples, Florida; $2,100 on an ultra-luxury hotel in downtown Portland, Oregon, in early September; and almost $1,500 on a Kimpton hotel in Cambridge, Massachusetts in August,” the magazine reports.
It also reveals the fact that in examining Rep. Greene’s campaign finances, the percentage of money spent on raising contributions soared from 43% of her total donations in the beginning of the year to 70% of her take in the past three months.
The good news is that for every dollar spent on palatial hotel stays, less money is available for the fear and hate-mongering that the two lawmakers spread where ever they go.
Even better is the fact that less money will be available for any re-election campaigning and, in Gaetz’s case, for his criminal defense once his expected indictment on sex trafficking of a minor charges takes place.
Yes, the financial struggles of Matt Gaetz and Marjorie Taylor Greene are a small sign of hope in the struggle to restore the American political landscape to something resembling normalcy, if not sanity.
It demonstrates that the struggle of progressives to defeat the forces of the right-wing is beginning to bear fruit, but only indicates that that struggle must continue even more forcefully until the threat from the forces of regression and fascism is thoroughly contained.
Original reporting by Russ Chroma at Mother Jones.
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Vinnie Longobardo is the Managing Editor of Occupy Democrats. He's a 35-year veteran of the TV, mobile & internet industries, specializing in start-ups and the international media business. His passions are politics, music, and art.