2012: Huck’s National Ad Campaign Backfiring?

3 Jan

You might have stumbled across the new nationwide ad that features our former-Governor-turned-Sunshine-Stater Mike Huckabee asking supporters to call a 1-800 number to sign a repeal petition against President Obama’s healthcare reform package. Likely unnoticed during the course of your New Year’s celebrations, however, came an embarrassing bit of news out of the political action committee responsible for the ad/2012 campaign commercial, Restore America’s Voice.

Ken Hoagland, personal friend of The Huckster and the PAC’s chairman, was forced to formally react to media questioning following initial reports from the liberal website Think Progress which highlighted the PAC’s Fox News-premiered “Repeal it Now” anti-healthcare-reform ad was being headed by Derek Oberholtzer of 949 Media Group — the same scam artist made infamous for his “Apply 2 Save” foreclosure relief program that defrauded distressed homeowners across the country.

Hoagland initially denied any wrongdoings, insisting that 949 Media was hired only for web consulting and never given a leadership role, despite filings with the Federal Election Commission that seem to show the campaign has been managed by the firm its inception in October. After mounting pressure, however, the PAC decided to part ways with the “consultant,” though the ad keeps running during the mornings and afternoons on various cable news networks (and Fox News as well).

Restore America’s Voice Responds

A growing campaign to repeal the healthcare act today announced that it had terminated a contract with one of its web consultants after reports of the consultant’s involvement in problematic projects in the past.

Ken Hoagland, chairman of Restore America’s Voice said, “We have terminated the services of 949 Media after we saw a web report last night detailing prior complaints involving its participation in certain mortgage relief marketing activities.” Hoagland said that 949 Media was a subcontracting vendor “responsible for web consulting but was never tasked with any management or leadership role” within the growing national campaign, as originally reported.

“We were unaware of the seriousness of the past issues with this vendor and we have taken immediate action to terminate the relationship. No public official working with us to repeal the healthcare act had any knowledge of nor relationship with any vendor or subcontractor,” said Hoagland.

Hoagland said that the campaign was working with “many technology and web companies and would continue to build the largest single petition drive in the history of the nation in an effort to repeal the Healthcare Reform Act through grassroots action.”

It remains to be seen how much Huckabee was paid as pitchman for the campaign. Media Matters has tracked a slew of efforts by the 2012 presidential GOP hopeful in recent years to raise funds for political groups that ultimately serve to benefit himself or his family.

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