by Peter Gemma

What do former Congressman Alan West, commentator Laura Ingraham, and Sheriff David Clarke have in common? All are well-known conservatives and a ton of money is being raised for their respective US Senate campaigns.

And here’s a coincidence: none of them are actually running for office.

There is a growing business in the political marketplace: political action committees are filling up in-boxes and mailboxes with fake solicitations. They offer great promises and dire warnings designed to scare up some money. Their appeals are often built around sexy-sounding but nonexistent campaigns, and they only exist on paper – begging letters, nice salaries, and big payments to shady vendors. Nothing for campaigns.

One such paper PAC, Conservative Freedom Fighters, is soliciting Laura Ingraham fans for contributions of $25, $50, and even $1,000 to support her “campaign” for US Senate. Ingraham called the PAC “totally fraudulent,” and asserted it “represents everything people hate about politics. I’m not running for Senate and no one should give this PAC a cent.”

Another paper PAC has just started to raise money for her “campaign.” To fight back, Laura Ingraham tweeted: “Tell everyone NOT to give a DIME to the ‘Principled PAC’ run by some guy named Reilly O’Neal, supposedly for my ‘Senate run.’” O’Neal, a “political consultant,” collected over a quarter million dollars from the (real) US Senate campaign of Alabama’s Roy Moore.

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