A 501(c)(4) nonprofit associated with RightMarch.com PAC paid Greene $76,000 in 2006 for advertising and promotion work. Tax forms list a director for the nonprofit, William Smiley, and a secretary treasurer, Ronald Smedley. Neither could be reached for comment.
When Greene ran for a Congressional seat in his home state of Georgia in the 2008 election, RightMarch.com PAC gave about $5,000 to his campaign — the highest contribution the group has ever made to a candidate in one election cycle.
RightMarch.com also contributed $500 to the 2010 Arizona Senatorial campaign of Chris Simcox, who once ran Minuteman PAC, a group that gave $5,000 to Greene’s campaign.
William Constantine, a former accountant for RightMarch.com and Minuteman PAC, said he stopped working with RightMarch.com seven years ago because, “I didn’t really agree with them.”
“I have absolutely no idea what RightMarch.com is or what it has been doing for years,” Constantine said, declining to elaborate.
According to media reports, Greene, Sheldon, Constantine and Simcox have all at various times worked on one of Keyes’ campaigns for public office.
RightMarch.com reported donating $5,000 to Keyes’ 2008 presidential campaign, and a 2006 Washington Times article said the PAC raised more than $500,000 for Keyes’ 2004 Senatorial campaign.
Last year, RightMarch.com also promoted a Caribbean cruise on Facebook that would allow activists to “learn REAL grassroots activism with Alan Keyes.”
While RightMarch.com’s dealings might raise questions, they do not seem to break any laws. PACs have no legal limits on how they spend the money they raise.
“The treasurer of a PAC could go out and buy a car with your money,” said Paul Ryan of the watchdog group Campaign Legal Center.
RightMarch.com isn’t the only group to take advantage of the light regulations on PACs.
In 2007, the Washington Post reported that Republican Linda Chavez profited from several PACs she ran. The following year, Roll Call found that BMW Direct, which raised money for GOPAC, spent 95 percent of its money on expenses, much of it paid to in-house vendors.
A group called the Republican Majority Campaign appears to be operating similarly to RightMarch.com, with most of its money also going to Political Advertising and Sheldon’s Diener Consultants.
Ryan said PACs with this structure might simply exist to provide jobs for the people running them.
In Greene’s case, RightMarch.com has helped elevate his profile in conservative circles. Julianne Thompson, who coordinates Tea Party Patriots’ activities in Greene’s home state of Georgia, said he frequently speaks at rallies there. Last year, Thompson — who described Greene as “a Ron Paul tea party person” — invited him to discuss the Federal Reserve on a tea party show that aired online.
Greene also spoke at a large tea party protest on the National Mall in September 2009 during the health care debate. As Congress convened for a final vote on the massive overhaul the following March, Greene helped pay for a tea party bus to Washington, D.C. He then emailed RightMarch.com members about it, asking them to donate to his PAC.