Texas oilman Kenneth W. Davis Jr. formed his own super PAC last year, Vote2ReduceDebt, and spent nearly three million dollars to back conservative Senate candidates in eight states in 2014. He didn’t spend money on our Annette Bosworth or GOP nominee Mike Rounds, but he did spend $274K in Iowa to help Joni Ernst go to Washington.
However, the Texas oilman did hire Annette Bosworth’s campaign manager, Patrick Davis of Colorado Springs, as senior consultant right around the time the fake Bosworth campaign was imploding into futile vulgarity and indictment for perjury.
But now Patrick Davis is embroiled in accusations that he imported some of Bosworth’s financial mismanagement to Kenneth Davis’s super PAC:
In his July memo to the board, [V2RD exec] Randy Hill alleged irregularities in Patrick Davis’ reimbursement requests. He wasn’t turning in receipts, Hill wrote, and some expenses didn’t track, such as a bill for an Iowa hotel stay that had been prepaid and a bill for a plane ticket even though Davis had driven to his destination.
Hill also questioned whether events organized by Davis were all they claimed to be. At an Iowa phone bank, Hill said, a caller admitted they were just “pretending to make phone calls” for the benefit of the campaign’s video cameras [Robert Faturechi, “Super PAC Men: How Political Consultants Took a Texas Oilman on a Wild Ride,” ProPublica, 2015.03.19].
Hogwash, says Patrick Davis: Hill is the real trickster, scamming the super PAC for cash to start his own NASCAR team and reality TV show:
By Davis’ account, Hill offered him a trade of sorts. He would make Patrick Davis “a character in his reality TV show.” And Patrick Davis would help Hill get $4 million out of the PAC: half a million for PAC promotions, and the rest going toward racing expenses including drivers and pit crews. Ken Davis, recently hospitalized, would be told the money was going towards legitimate get-out-the-vote operations.
In his memo, Patrick Davis wrote that he would never go along with such a scheme because it would have “required lying to Mr. Ken Davis which was something I was not going to do” [Faturechi, 2015.03.19].
Patrick Davis won. Kenneth Davis canned Hill, and Patrick Davis got Vote2ReduceDebt to hire three South Dakota companies run by Patrick’s pal and Annette Bosworth’s former attorney Joel Arends. Patrick Davis managed to funnel $875,000 from the super PAC to organizations connected with himself and associates, including a $200,000 deal with Red State Productions, incorporated by Arends on August 11, 2014, to stage voter rallies. That deal sparked a lawsuit:
…Davis’s lawyer said in a statement that Red State “is a skilled political campaign services provider with years of experience and excellent results over many campaigns.”
While Arends had worked with campaigns in the past, Red State’s website, which displays photos of big political rallies featuring Republican stars such as Rep. Michelle Bachmann and Newt Gingrich, was created a couple of days before Red State pitched the $200,000 deal to Vote2ReduceDebt, domain registration records show. The company was incorporated in South Dakota a few days after the pitch.
Red State’s events, according to the website, “are widely attended, photographed and reported.” A search of online databases turned up no previous record of payments to Red State Productions by a candidate or political committee. The D.C. number for the company has since been disconnected. The address listed on its website is for a service on Washington’s K Street lobbying corridor that provides mail drops and temporary office space.
Vote2ReduceDebt staffers were not pleased with Red State’s work, according to a lawsuit the super PAC filed in December to get the money back. One of the firm’s main responsibilities was promoting rallies and getting people there. But most of the people who attended their rallies, the PAC alleged, were paid Vote2ReduceDebt staffers, with one rally only drawing seven outsiders [Faturechi, 2015.03.19].
Arends is countersuing Vote to Reduce Debt for breach of contract. Vote to Reduce Debt ended its contract with Patrick Davis in October.