Conservatives Inc.

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by Alex Altman & Michael Scherer,

from TIME Magazine,

Marketing wizards make millions off the movement. Is it money well spent?

In the Obama era, lucrative outfits have sprung up to spread the falsehood that the President was born on foreign soil, seek his impeachment and investigate the attack on the U.S. diplomatic post in Benghazi, Libya. Winning doesn’t always matter; in fact, a campaign that has no measurable impact on elections or public opinion can be as remunerative as one that does. Activists make their appeals, collect the checks and move on. “It’s sort of like The Producers,” says the conservative talk-radio host Michael Medved. “The whole idea is if we close quickly, no one will bother to try to figure out what we did with all the money.” In many cases, more than 70% of the proceeds goes to fundraising expenses.

The campaign to draft Carson, which is blanketing the country with fundraising appeals, certainly is reminiscent of a Mel Brooks movie; the GOP has never picked a presidential nominee without military or government experience. Even some other conservatives find the campaign a distraction. In a recent column, Medved called on his listeners to steer clear of the group. “People have figured out a way to earn money with irresponsible appeals,” Medved says. “It’s not like this achieves anything for your favorite cause. I think about grandmothers who send $25 of their Social Security money.”

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