I do a LOT of research before supporting Republicans in primaries and before getting involved in primaries. It’s a habit that began when I was nineteen, looking into which candidate I’d support for Governor in a five-way Republican primary in New Mexico. And my love for research continues today.
Last spring I received a phone call from a friend who had some information on this “Tyler Harber guy” that the David Clements U.S. Senate campaign had hired as Chief Strategist and Communications Consultant (according to an RPNM email originally from the Clements campaign). I had previously been informed by friends that Clements campaign operatives were outing me (as “once anonymous blogger”) at Republican meetings in Albuquerque, and generally being nasty… But at the time I was busy with my own campaign projects…gathering signatures for Congressman Pearce, Sec. of State Duran, Rep. Dianne Hamilton, and any other Republican who seemed to need a hand up (heck, I posted all the petitions, including Clements’, on this blog!).
Later, unable to subdue my curiosity, I did a little research of my own on Tyler Harber and was shocked at what I came up with, which included an email from Public Opinion Strategies, a trusted polling group:
Imagine our surprise when Tyler claims credit for literally every single POS win in the 2006 election cycle, including Senate races, Governor’s races, Congressional races and down-ticket races in which Tyler had absolutely no involvement.
In fact, here’s how Tyler introduces himself:
“Last cycle, my research team helped manage the research and strategy for four winning US Senate races, six winning Republican Governors, 46 Members of Congress, as well as numerous down-ticket statewide and legislative winners.”
The truth: Those victories required the hard work of six POS partners, four POS Vice-Presidents and roughly 25 other POS employees. Further, Tyler worked for POS for a little more than one year, and was neither the lead strategist nor the lead pollster on a single project.
We’ve been in touch with Tyler and have given him the opportunity to correct the record and he has failed to do so.
Upon digging deeper I discovered that Tyler Harber had, along with a rival of mine Bob Cornelius, been attached to the Gary Smith 2012 congressional campaign. Readers may recall that Gary Smith seemed to “snap” after losing the 2012 congressional primary to Janice Arnold-Jones, stalking Arnold-Jones and slashing her vehicle’s tires. Repeatedly.
As I continued researching, Tyler Harber just kept showing up in all the wrong places. He was also involved in the terribly handled Todd Akin affair.
But back to 2014…
As the Clements Senate campaign became desperate, they grasped for straws, echoing the hate-filled attacks of the Left. They even stooped to attacking me in a press release or donation requesting email laced with nasty lies and claims that there were rumors that I worked for David Clements’ Republican primary opponent Allen Weh. It was an absurd accusation and crazy notion, but it showed how desperate they were and what a bad communications adviser Tyler Harber actually was.
This is not only deceptive, it’s illegal!Allen Weh doesn’t want you to know who he calls his friends: Cronies include rumored employees like Rebekah Stevens, AKA Politix Fireball, who was hired and then fired by Congressman Steve Pearce for posting explicitly anti-Semitic and xenophobic remarks on Facebook and Twitter. Weh is also trying to hide the fact that he is paying a former staffer of Tom Udall to conduct his press outreach.
Somehow, I don’t think the email helped raise too much money for the Clements campaign, unless it was from the “less than law-abiding” Galassini-Ford fan club based out of Otero County (who, by the way, had more to do with my departure from Pearce’s office than anything else).
And now flash forward to this week…
…and an article from the Huffington Post: Tyler Harber is the first person convicted of illegal coordination between a political campaign and a super PAC.
Whoah! More from Huffington Post:
A Republican Party political operative pleaded guilty Thursday to illegally coordinating with a super PAC while he ran a congressional campaign in the 2012 election.Tyler Harber, 34, campaign manager for Virginia Republican congressional candidate Chris Perkins, used a super PAC he created to spend $325,000 to support Perkins’ campaign against incumbent Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.). Perkins lost the race to Connolly by 25 percentage points.
Harber is the first person convicted of illegal coordination between a political campaign and a super PAC. Super PACs are registered political committees that can raise unlimited sums of money from corporations, unions or individuals so long as they do not coordinate the content or conduct of their spending with political campaigns or parties they aim to support. These groups were created after the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision and a subsequent lower court ruling based on that Citizens United ruling.
“Today, Mr. Harber took responsibility for violating federal election campaign laws by illegally coordinating payments between a super PAC and a candidate’s campaign committee,” Andrew G. McCabe, assistant director in charge of the FBI’s Washington field office, said in a statement. “The FBI will continue to investigate allegations of campaign finance abuse which are in place to ensure openness and fairness in our elections so the people’s interests are protected.”
U.S. District Judge Liam O’Grady in Alexandria, Virginia, scheduled sentencing for June 5.
The Department of Justice released a statement of facts in Harber’s case, detailing how Harber directed payments from the National Republican Victory Fund to a fake company under the control of his mother. This false company then paid $20,000 to Harber’s mother and $118,000 to Harber.
** Update: I reached out to Mr. Clements for comment this afternoon, and he responded saying he was “surprised and saddened” and continued, “The system will simply have to run its course. I hope Mr. Harber and his family can learn from the experience and move forward.”
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