Rightroots

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Rightroots, supported by ABC Pac Inc. (political action committee), was launched August 1, 2006, as a new fundraising effort by "a broad coalition of conservative" bloggers who "join[ed] together in support of a solid slate" of 18 Republican candidates for the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate. "Properly funded, these candidates represent our best chance to retain control of Congress and to enact a conservative agenda," its website states. [1]

"Rightroots" Candidates

Neither incumbents or Republican primary challengers "are in the mix," Robert B. Bluey of Human Events Online reported August 1, 2006. "That's a decision we made based on fundraising totals for incumbents and the long-term outlook for primary candidates," he said. "Governors, who are subject to different campaign-finance laws, were also excluded. Many factors went into who was ultimately identified as a Rightroots-approved candidate."

U.S. House of Representatives

U.S. Senate

ABC Pac Inc.

Conservative bloggers—"we still needed some place that could handle the money"—"partnered with ABC PAC, a PAC run by credible conservatives," Right Wing News wrote August 1, 2006. PAC members include (as listed):

Michael Turk wrote July 7, 2006, that the group included Becki Donatelli.

The ABC PAC website states that it was founded by "Frank Donatelli, Craig Shirley, Michael Turk, Chuck DeFeo, and Jason Torchinsky. They currently serve as the governing board for the PAC."

According to DonationReport.com, "ABC PAC was created by Frank Donatelli, Michael Turk, Chuck DeFeo, and Jason Torchinsky to be the central on-line place for individuals to make contributions to Republican candidates for federal office," ABC PAC's donation page states. [2]

ABC Pac Inc. is registered with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) with Committee ID: C00422188. According to the Statement of Organization filed April 3, 2006, by ABC Pac Inc. with the FEC, Lisa R. Lisker is the PAC's Treasurer.

Keith A. Davis, a partner in the political accounting firm Huckaby Davis Lisker of Alexandria, Virginia, is listed as designated agent and "Asst. Treasurer".

The PAC's mailing address is the same as that for Huckaby Davis Lisker at 228 South Washington Street, Suite 115, Alexandria, Virginia 22314, with Phone 703 549-7705.

Rightroots (Bloggers) Selection Committee

Right Wing News reported August 1, 2006, that the "following bloggers answered the call and joined the Rightroots Selection Committee" (as listed):

Domain Name & Fundraising: Swift Boat Connection

The domain name ABCPAC.COM was created February 28, 2006, by Campaign Solutions of Alexandria, Virginia. The URL for the "Rightroots" website is an extension of ABCPAC.COM.

The web address for donations to ABC Pac is that for Donation Report.com (plus an extension code for ABC Pac).

The connection for DonationReport.com website arrives at a Login page—requiring both a User ID and Password—which belongs to eDonation.com, a member of The Donatelli Group, a fundraising company that has raised campaign funds for the Republican National Committee, Republican National Convention, Bush-Cheney '04 Inc., John McCain, the NRA [3], and an exhaustive list of Republican members of the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives, as well as other political organizations. [4]

The Donatelli Group, using its "primary segment" Campaign Solutions [5], is associated with Creative Response Concepts, the public relations firm that advised Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, the "organization that accused Kerry of inflating his Vietnam War record" during the 2004 presidential campaign. [6]

The Donatelli Group, which produced the RNC website [7], also created the SWIFTBOATVETSFORTRUTH.ORG website July 30, 2004, with Connell Donatelli Inc. (a.k.a. The Donatelli Group) as Registrant. Connell Donatelli Inc. was also listed as both Administrator and the Tech Organization for the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth website. [8]

Rightroots candidates = Donation Report clients

All of the Rightsroots' candidates will receive campaign donations via Donation Report.com. Clicking on each name below will arrive at a URL for a DonationReport.com donation page which names the candidate.

Feedback from the Blogs

ABC Principals

"The ABC principals are ex-RNC eCampaign director Mike Turk, the prime mover; former Reagan adviser and McGuire Woods consultant Frank Donatelli; Jason Torchinsky, formerly an attorney at DoJ; and Chuck DeFeo, who recently bloggified Townhall.com and mostly just lent his name to this project. Turk hired Becki Donatelli's Campaign Solutions to host the site and process credit cards, and through her, Frank and his old PAC became involved. An entity called the ABC PAC has existed almost exclusively on paper (and FEC.gov PDFs) since 2004. Republican operatives Donatelli, Craig Shirley and Charlie Black used the name to petition the FEC when BCRA was still being sorted out. Turk tells Blog P.I. they liked the name because 'ABC' telegraphs ease of use, and indeed convenience was another reason to take an existing committee out of mothballs rather than filing as a new one. ...

"According to this Dave Weigel snark, half of the listed House candidates are already NRCC-supported. In other words, they seem to be hedging their bets against finding themselves in the uncomfortable situation I alluded to yesterday, and as Weigel puts it, of backing 'their own loser candidates.'"—William Beutler, Blog P.I., August 2, 2006.

Rightroots v. ActBlue

"Mike Turk describes this as a counter to ActBlue, the highly successful grassroots Democratic donation engine, which has enabled many activists and bloggers to in effect create their own mini-PACs. It's probably fairer to see RightRoots as a mirror of the 'Netroots' fundraising pages on ActBlue, which focus attention on a handful of 'netroots-endorsed' candidates that have been hand-picked by a few key bloggers.

"That very selectivity is raising hackles among some conservatives, at least over at RedState, where the involvement of a McCain employee in the RightRoots team is questioned. But Turk says his ultimate goal is 'to list every GOP candidate, and to provide a lot of tools for bloggers - things like tracking IDs, widgets for your site, and some competitions between bloggers to drive donations for key races, special elections, etc.'

"It will be interesting to see if RightRoots can catch fire, though clearly more is involved than just creating a simple way for small-donors and bloggers to pool contributions (and deal with FEC reporting requirements). As liberal blogger Taylor Marsh commented to me," Micah L. Sifry wrote August 1, 2006:

"'What Republicans don't understand about Act Blue is that it's a grass roots organization fueled by real passion for Democratic political candidates. No one is excited about the Republican candidates, especially with the likes of Rick Santorum, Curt Weldon and George W. Bush in everyone's mind. The only way they'll raise money is if John O'Neill of swiftboating fame does a fundraiser for them.'"

Naming: 'right' 'roots'

"'Rightroots.' A hard, alliterative cadence, like rat-a-tat-tat. And that pairing of 'right' and 'roots,' so redolent of conservativsm's unsavory strain of Vaterland nativism. (It practically pleads for the sobriquet 'Reichroots'.) The web 2.0 version of rightroots might be a fresh vintage, but the label has a history, no?"—Jason Z., Democracy in Action Blog, August 2, 2006.

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