GOP’s black market: Anti-incumbent campaigns

Lerner’s core “band of brothers” is a select group: In four of this year’s most heated incumbent-versus-challenger primary races, a group of four firms have engaged in a kind of musical chairs, trading off responsibilities from one race to the next.

Altogether, the four companies — operating in Idaho, Mississippi, Kentucky and Kansas — have taken in some $8.5 million from anti-incumbent campaigns and super PACs just in those states, a review of campaign finance records shows. (That’s revenue, not profit; Federal Election Commission reports don’t break down how much money goes to operations versus fees.)

Red Sea LLC, Lerner’s firm, was paid $3.2 million working for the Club for Growth and Senate Conservatives Action, the super PAC arm of Senate Conservatives Fund, in three of those races. The West Coast firm Target Enterprises took in $1.1 million from the Club and SCA in Mississippi, and from SCA in Kansas.

Jamestown Associates, a firm publicly denounced by the McConnell campaign, consulted for the SCF and SCA in Kentucky and the Club in Idaho; in Mississippi, it worked for both of those groups as well as for the Tea Party Patriots Citizens Fund. The company now works directly for Milton Wolf, the conservative radiologist challenging Kansas Republican Sen. Pat Roberts.

The firm’s total intake across those four races comes to $1.8 million. Federal Election Commission documents filed over the weekend show Jamestown is also producing ads for an outside group supporting Tennessee Sen. Lamar Alexander’s primary challenger, conservative state Rep. Joe Carr.

The exact responsibilities of the firms differ from race to race. In Mississippi, Jamestown produced campaign mail for the Club for Growth, while Red Sea did the group’s TV advertising and Target worked on digital ads.