zimke coin
You know you want one of these lovely commemorative coins

When I first met Wonkette in person, at the 2012 Republican National Convention, she was drunkenly helping me post an exclusive about an unhinged Obama-bashing ad (focused laser-like on Obama’s destructive surrender-bowing tendencies), which I had just obtained from the very cordial former Navy SEAL who ran the Super PAC behind it.

Wonkette later moved to Montana for purposes of breeding, whereupon that state immediately elected that same former SEAL, Ryan Zinke, to Congress.

I have no idea whether she is aware of this connection – did I mention she was drinking? For all I know, that was the guy she bred with. (Editor’s fact check: It was not.)

Zinke, according to news reports, is now considering running for the open position of speaker of the House of Representatives.

This might seem ludicrous, given his vast experience of roughly 10 months in Congress. But that’s only if you think Zinke is interested in anything but raising money for a bunch of alleged direct-mail scamsters.

If he’s mostly interested in direct-mail scamming, however, floating his name for speaker makes more sense. You can imagine the URGENT APPEAL for helping this patriot step up to fill the great leadership void in Washington.

Zinke makes such appeals through a PAC he set up immediately after his election: Supporting Electing American Leaders (SEAL) PAC.

It is ostensibly working to elect more military members to Congress. And, in fact, as shown in its third quarter report filed Thursday, SEAL PAC has contributed a total of $5,500 this year to Dan Bacon, running for Congress in Nebraska; Brian Mast, trying to win Allen West’s former seat in Florida; and Congressman Joe Heck, running for Senate in Nevada. It has also given $10,000 to the National Republican Congressional Committee.

That’s a pittance of the roughly $400,000 the PAC has spent, however, raised mostly from relatively small-money donors all over the country. Another $23,000 or so has gone to two friends-of-Mitt consulting firms in Massachusetts, Shawmut Group and SwiftKurrent.

But most of it – a little over a quarter-million dollars – has been paid to three companies that all have the same Washington address.

The address happens to be the one used by Base Connect, once known as BMW Direct, which has been repeatedly accused of being “a big shell game” by exactly the kind of dickish lamestream media types who hang around with Wonkette in bars:

Barely any effort is made to pretend otherwise. Several of Base Connect’s clients, like Freedom’s Defense Fund and Black Republican PAC, exist only as a theoretical construct — just words on the piece of mail. A Base Connect executive, who serves as those organizations’ treasurer, has a standard memo he submits to the FEC, to explain the lack of administrative costs for groups reporting multi-million-dollar operations: “Currently, the committee has neither paid staff nor an office headquarters.” That fact is not at all clear in the materials sent to persuade movement conservatives to fund the groups — the mailings give the impression that there is some actual organization behind the name, doing battle against the apocalyptic horrors of Obama and the Democrats.

This is nothing new for future Speaker Zinke. His previous Super PAC – the one behind that unhinged ad in 2012 – never actually spent money airing that ad. In fact, it spent just $7,000 on independent expenditures that year.

The Super PAC went on to raise and spend more than $3 million in the 2014 cycle – the vast majority going to various Base Connect companies, a company run by Zinke’s former chief of staff, and a company run by Zinke himself.

To the extent it helped any cause at all, the Missoula Independent reported, the Super PAC helped promote Zinke’s 2014 bid to be Wonkette’s new congressman. Oh, and Zinke’s actual congressional campaign account was more of the same. And don’t fret, Zinke’s new PAC is paying consulting fees to the former chief of staff as well.

All of which must make Wonkette proud of her new congresscritter, and, from what I just read earlier in this post, the rumored father of her child. I can only hope some of the money is being funneled to baby Wonkette.

[NBC Montana]

Follow David S. Bernstein on Twitter.

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  • Lizzietish81
    • Count Awesome

      Truly a movie of ‘extraordinary magnitude!”

      • Lizzietish81

        I saw this before I saw Enter the Dragon, imagine my shock when I realized it really WAS the same movie.

        • Count Awesome

          So is the national organization for the dead a Cheney PAC?

        • bobbert

          My homeboys. “Dr. Klahn” was our school district superintendent.

  • Nounverb911

    Did Zinke graduate from the Palin College School of Grifterology?

    • Villago Delenda Est

      May have taken some classes at Liberty U and Regent University for credit that was transferred to Palin College.

  • Lizzietish81

    Are either of his coins made from zinc?

    • sw19womble

      bit, surely?

    • bobbert

      It’s a fucking Challenge Coin, innit?

  • Oblios_Cap

    Nothing to see here. I’m sure it’s all legal.

    • BadKitty904

      For Republicans, sure…

    • sw19womble

      I don’t see how this is legal, but it probably has something to do with SCOTUS?

      • FauxAntocles

        As long as the SCROTUS get their cut…

    • TheBidenator

      Or it will be once the rules committee meets again- Republicans, sleazing up the rules once they have a majority since 1994

  • SuspectedDemocrat

    Now there’s someone who knows how to fund vital government services!

  • tegrat

    This confirms it, Palin is a complete piker when it comes to grifting.

    • TheBidenator

      dude (or lady) she made (not wrote, made) an entire book of copy-pasted bible quotes and is selling it for full price….don’t ever think anyone can out-grift the grifterbilly….

      • Biff52

        Who knew scrapbooking and stamping could be so profitable?

        • Biel_ze_Bubba

          My cousin made $$$$ last month using this one easy trick!

      • Biel_ze_Bubba

        What, exactly, is “full price” for printed-out copypasta?
        Paper + toner + arbitrary as-large-as-the-marks-will-cough-up profit?

        • TheBidenator

          Likely $50 for hardbound…this is Palin we’re talking about here.

          • bobbert


  • BadKitty904

    Slimy GOP con-artist wants the U.S. government controlled by military-types – a banana-republican, indeed…

    • Villago Delenda Est

      If you get the right military types to control it, it would still be bad. But turkeys like Zinke are not among the right military types.

      • Biel_ze_Bubba

        They are also exactly the military types that will try to control governments. It’s always a lose-lose proposition with these totalitarian “we-know-what’s-best-for-you” yahoos.

    • TheBidenator

      Did someone say “a banana-hammock Republican?” Because I’m totally into THAT!
      – Marcus Bachmann

      • BadKitty904


  • BadKitty904

    Seeing that Zinke that is obviously “in bed” with this mysterious and repeatedly mentioned “former chief of staff,” is said former CoS male or female?

    • elviouslyqueer


    • TheBidenator

      It’s a goat and Mike Huckabee is really jealous about it…but you didn’t hear that from me

    • Biff52

      So there will be CoSplay?

  • FauxAntocles

    Super PACs – the Greatest Grift of All!

  • Michael Smith

    Well, as Charles Koch pointed out, sometimes you need to use All the Money in order to buy off All of the Politicians to prevent them from listening to anyone else, or else they will only serve special interests.

  • Count Awesome

    Any one that wants the speaker of the house position is less a candidate and more a human sacrifice for the ‘thuggee’-baggers and this guy…

  • TheBidenator

    I’m guessing that Base Connects motto is “connecting your bases pocketbooks to your wallet”….just another day for the GOP- Grifting Olds Prodigiously

    • SnarkTank

      No, it’s “All Your BaseConnects Are Belong To Us”.

  • Spotts1701

    I Zinke there is something fishy going on around here…

    • Gil

      You goin’ to make fun of his wife’s name, Lolita Hand, too ?

      • DrV57

        Good idea! Wonder how old she is?

  • goonemeritus

    So this fine American hero has experience taking money from gullible
    Republicans and not spending it to advance the Republican agenda. So far what’s not to like.

    • BadKitty904

      Agreed. As long as these fraudsters keep fleecing GOP rubes, I’m all for it. Maybe said hayseeds will eventually learn a valuable life-lesson…

      • goonemeritus

        They really won’t, they will be donating money to impeach Obama 2 years from now.

  • TheBidenator

    This guy is like the political love child of Tom DeLay and Duke Cunningham, so when does the trial and tearful apology before being led away in the orange jumpsuit phase begin?

    • schmannity

      Not soon enough, Katie?

  • ArgieBargie

    I don’t Zinke that shit’s legal.

  • Brother Yam
    • Brother Yam

      How does Linkky get formed? I tried <a href="… and that did not work.

      • Oblios_Cap

        Like this?

        a href =” “>text</a I left the first and last bracket off so youse could see

      • Villago Delenda Est

        Normally, you can just paste the full link to the comment box, and it will show up as a clickable link. But when you’re using html markup, one has to be careful with spaces and such. For example, you need to close a link with (lesser than backslash a greater than) at the end of the intended link text, that would be in your case right after “Perlstein”. Or as JustPixelz better posted than I! :)

      • JustPixelz

        I do it kinda like this…
        here is a link

      • Biel_ze_Bubba

        I keep this text string handy for copypasta:
        ≺a href=”LINK” title=”TITLE”≻TEXT≺/a≻

        (Replace the ≺ and ≻ symbols with the actual bracket characters from your keyboard. I had to swap in similar-looking symbols to get
        the string to show up without Disqus going “Oh look, a linky!”)

        Double click on LINK and paste in the link, double click on TEXT and paste in whatever text you want to appear as the linky. You don’t need TITLE, unless you want a cute bit of text to show up when people mouseover the linky.

        Works for most links, but YMMV.

      • nmmagyar

        I use post it notes

    • JaaaaaCeeeee

      Thanks, Brother Yam, I’d forgotten that Perlestein gem on the long con of mail order conservatism.

    • H0mer0

      dammit BroYam! Now I spent the last 45 minutes or so reading that article and I have many questions—no, wait, I think that article just answered some of them (fleecing their rubes while calling us a bunch of rubes, “at long last, sir, have you no decency?”[short answer:no], etc…)

  • MsAnthropesMr

    Please donate to the AnthropePAC. Our motto – we hate you.

    • Biel_ze_Bubba

      Wouldn’t that me the MisanthropePAC?

  • Msgr_Moment

    SEAL PAC? Time to go clubbin’.

  • Lizzietish81

    So what we’ve learned from this is that, before Shy made an honest woman out of her, Wonkette used to troll the RNC for one night stands.

    • Spotts1701

      Stranger things…

      • Biel_ze_Bubba

        Whoa – that is one very well-fed raccoon. Dumpster must be behind a school cafeteria, and well-stocked with untouched fruits and veggies.

        • Anarchy Pony


    • elviouslyqueer

      She was going for that whole “crazy in the head, crazy in the bed” thing, obvs.

      • Villago Delenda Est

        Wow, I bet Ben Carson is just fantastic in the sack, then.

        • jangoodell


        • kindness

          How about you do the ‘research’ and get back to us on that?

        • Steverino247

          Quote: “You want that other guy.”

      • aureolaborealis

        Jesus Christ, people, she’s explained all this. If you’re going to miss class, make sure you get notes from someone who was there:

        • sillybill

          reading that was like watching a 100 car pile up, you can’t look away and it’ll fuck up your dreams for a week!

      • Ilgattomorte

        Obviously we have a different take on this. I’ve always found it to be, “Crazy in the head” … “Oh shit! My dick is bleeding!”

    • JustPixelz

      Good theory except:
      a) woman + RNC = does not happen
      b) um, there is no “b”.

  • dalibby

    Well, at least he’s pretty. And not orange.

    • BadKitty904

      In a closeted-Daddy-who-likes-to-tie-up-twinks sorta way…

      • BadKitty904

        Or so I’m told. Not that I would know, of course, or anything like that…

      • elviouslyqueer

        Well, he’s got the penis chin, so he’s halfway out of the closet already.

        • H0mer0

          I didn’t realize that was on the list of features.

      • dalibby

        Can someone married to someone named Lolita be closeted?

        • BadKitty904

          This is a Republican legislator. Who they’re married to and who/what they’re boinking are rarely the same person/thing.

        • H0mer0

          “light of my life, fire of my loins” (ew, that just gave me the creeps on more than one level)

      • nmmagyar

        Go on….

  • Bureaucrap

    So is there a component of the GOP that is NOT a gigantic affinity fraud? Asking for a friend.

    • handyhippie65


  • JoeChristmas

    This sounds like solid muckraking journalism. Meh, who does that any more?

  • exinkwretch

    He’s got about a good a shot at Speaker if they just filled the job alphabetically.

  • Toomush_Infer

    OMG! A Navy Seal for Speaker! In case they have to do any underwater rescues!…that’s better than a brain surgeon for president!…

    • BadKitty904

      Or balance a ball on their nose!

      • Biff52

        Don’t let it taste mammal blood!

      • Steverino247

        Or beat their wives and children.

  • Emily Sieger

    gee, I wonder if the Montana press has ever covered this scamming ……. crickets crickets crickets

    • rebecca

      apparently the Missoula Independent did. bad on me for not reading my hometown alt-weekly!

      • Villago Delenda Est

        Two demerits, deferred until the end of the day when a new picture of the Princess Donna Rose with warsh all your sins away!

        • Cindyinencinitas

          They can’t distract her now. She’s driving.

          • nmmagyar

            Isn’t she a bit young for that?

          • Cindyinencinitas

            She’s precocious. Being that she’s a Wonkababby and all.

          • nmmagyar

            Good point. I’m ashamed of myself for not taking that fact into consideration.

      • Bill Slider

        Just give us the word and we will call on that former CIA operative who will know how to rub out your enemies presto, fasto, since he has friends who have friends, maybe.

  • BoatOfVelociraptors

    Shamwut? Shamwow.

  • schmannity

    Seals in Montana. Polar bear on that island in Lost. Time to reduce your carbon footprint.

    • Putty

      Don’t forget guerilla fighters everywhere!

  • Me not sure

    Would it be wrong for me to say that Zinke is a galvanizing figure?

    • Mehmeisterjr

      I wouldn’t give him a nickle. Set the coppers on him. (Do you see the irony?)

    • Logic of Color

      Last time I saw him he smelt bad

      • Me not sure

        Ore really?

      • Querolous

        Just like the rust of the RWNJs.

        • Mondoshawan

          RWNJs… you mean his alloys?

    • Tansy Geek

      His PAC seems to provide a pretty opaque screen.

  • Biff52

    These are my awards, Mother. From Army.

  • MrBlobfish

    I’m in the wrong business. Off to start BlobPAC.

    • Cindyinencinitas

      I’m in for five.

    • Robert_V

      I say! The thought has crossed my mind. Seems that taking money from the hand of conservatives is like clubbing baby seals. Now if we can get a club bog enough to wack this fellow Zinke in the forehead……

    • Putty

      I’d create a “PuttyPAC” but I’m afraid it would be confused as new kid’s toy from Crayola, LLC. Oh, wait …

      Ah, never mind. Instead of money, I would surely start getting “cease and desist” letters saying the name was confusingly similar. Damn!

  • Mavenmaven

    That’s what we need, more unhinged rightist military men in government.

    • Putty

      I”ll bet you a dime to a donut he’s a supporter of the Doh!th Keepers!

  • ryp

    Far better that these turds fleece the faithful to line their own pockets than to actually elect more Republicans.

  • D_C_Wilson

    The one positive outcome of Citizens United is that it opened a floodgate of scammers who set up Super PACs that do a lot of separating dumb conservatives from their money, but don’t seem to do any actual campaigning for conservative candidates.

    • handyhippie65

      that is not worth the kochs throwing wads at the whackadoos.

    • Vegan and Tiara

      Between the church grifters and the political grifters, it’s a wonder the rubes have any money left.

      • dshwa

        They don’t, but they blame the black guy and liberals for it.

      • Putty

        My particular favorites are the poor souls who are so awed by Trump that they SEND HIM MONEY! Trump, the “I can do it all and pay for it all myself” guy! They’re what I’ve come to refer to as the sparkly, twinkly kind of stupid.

    • Dave

      yep. As we see with the republican campaign for the nomination. As the number of grifters grow faster than the number of marks, the grifters start to fight among themselves. Hilarity ensues.

  • Flashman

    On the other hand, not that many Republicans actually served in the military, unless you count stuff like running payday loan places outside army bases.

    • Biff52

      Or like Trump!! at his hoitie-toitie military academy. It is so the same thing!

      • nmmagyar

        Perry in his jodhpurs and thigh-high boots, also too

  • vivian

    I don’t Kinke dis such good idea, moose.

  • eddi

    It is a mortal sin to allow a fool to keep his money.

  • DahBoner

    Ryan Zinke is not a crook.

    Ryan Zinke has earned everything he’s got…

  • Jen_Baker_VA

    You know, while once again, corrupt money machine lying to donors and all, since he is taking money from conservatives to give to himself, thereby robbing the rich to give to his onsies and grifting the grifters therefore, I am ok with it.
    Sucker should still get nailed for all the bajillion laws he is probably breaking, but keep on milking the money from the Rubes, Zilkey baby

    • House0fTheBlueLights

      Except he’s not robbing the rich. He’s robbing the little guys hiding in their bunkers armed to the eyeballs because that black guy in the White House is smuggling baby parts to the Russians in the coffins of the heroes he killed at Benghazi.

  • AnOuthouse

    Does Zinke rhyme with stink? I think it does.

    • Jen_Baker_VA

      Zinke Stink Finks, all Drink

      • H0mer0

        Theodore Geissel libel!

  • azeyote

    seems kinda like peanuts compared to the real grifters grifting out there in the conservative Republican stratosphere, where the sheep are easy to fleece

    • marxalot

      why do you hate the small businessman??1!?

  • House0fTheBlueLights

    Stupid me. I chose fundraising as a profession, and then wasted my skills raising money for the arts and to combat hunger.

    (This asshole is what gives fundraisers a bad name. I have had things thrown at me.)

    • Dave

      My apologies, I always just set down the phone whenever someone cold calls for money. If I hang up, it seems I get put back on the auto dialer for a recall list.

      If I actually listen to start of the spiel and say, “No thank you, please take me off your list.” Many fund raisers seem to sell my number to others as a live number.

      This time of year, I average 5 calls asking for money and 3 pollsters asking for opinions. So, sorry for lumping you in with all the other asshats….

      • House0fTheBlueLights

        Education time! the vast majority of those calls are not made by nonprofits. They are made by for-profit companies that are outsourcers for the big npos like Red Cross and the diseases, and for political campaigns. The calls from your alma mater may or may not be the same, and the “students” doing the calls may or may not be actual students at that institution. You will rarely get someone from a small local npo that really does need your help. You’ll be able to tell because there won’t be a delay while their computer figures out that you’ve answered the phone. Don’t hang up on that person!

        • Dave

          The Alma-maters, both undergrad and graduate, got the boot few years ago. When I started asking the callers, who identified themselves as students, neither of them knew the name of the main street going through town :(

  • Jared James
  • YayConspiracy

    Like one of the wonkette sponsors: How a Former SEAL Makes $89,844/Yr in His Spare Time.

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