We are running a fundraiser right now at The Resurgent. We use a system called Anedot, built by a former Republican congressional candidate. Because the Anedot team took the trouble to build their whole system, the costs to The Resurgent and to candidates for office are pretty cheap. We are, for example, only paying a processing fee to Anedot. There is not an additional fee to a middle man company that actually processes the credit card transactions. It’s a win for Anedot because they keep the whole transaction in house. It is a win for us because the cost is far more reasonable than other products and a hell of a lot more flexible than any other system out there. Anedot has become the most widely used online fundraising portal for political candidates in America. You can see the easily embeddable and secure fundraising form below this post.
I tell you all that as a way to contrast that with the self-dealing still prevalent within the RNC. In the past, I have documented how the RNC outsourced Voter Vault to the company of one of its political directors, who in turn charged the RNC fees to maintain what the RNC built. FLS Connect has a notorious reputation within Republican circles as it gets the phone vending contracts while supplying the RNC a steady supply of employees who ensure FLS Connect stays paid. Let’s not even get into the NRCC stuff. I’ve written about the FLS Connect problems many times.
The Democrats, it should be noted, mostly stamped out this problem on their side. Barack Obama, more specifically, insisted that consultants get on his payroll instead of working off commissions. It scuttled the old guard Democrat consulting class. The Howard Dean revolution assisted by the nutroots of the left drew blood against their old, corrupt consulting class. They did not really think it right that Democratic consultants were buying beach houses after repeated losses.
The Republicans have never done that. The GOP still lives in a world of consultants making mint whether there is a win or loss. The RNC still lives in a world where it hires people into prominent positions who then redirect contracts to their own companies, even if those companies are not very efficient or competent.
The latest example comes from the Chief Digital Officer of the RNC, Gerrit Lansing. Lansing is a “digital officer” whose background is a B.A. in Classical Languages from Sewanee who became a Heritage Foundation blogger and a “New Media Director” for a member of congress. In other words, he has no real technical proficiency. You’d never know it from his LinkedIn page, but Lansing helped start an online fundraising company called Revv.
Lansing was — and still is — the CEO, co-founder, and part-owner of Revv, an online fundraising company.
That fact is also missing from Lansing’s LinkedIn and Twitter profiles, which don’t mention Revv. And on Revv’s profile on AngelList, a popular directory of startups, Nick Marcelli is the sole founder listed. (Lansing, Marcelli, and a third co-founder, Chris Georgia, all worked together at the National Republican Congressional Committee during the 2014 campaign cycle.)
Today, Revv handles online donations for the RNC (which continues to employ Lansing), the Trump campaign (with which Lansing works closely), and a slew of Republican congressional campaigns. But at the time of Lansing’s hiring, Revv was a virtually untested platform — the company had incorporated less than six months earlier and had only officially launched in April. Switching to Revv would also mean abandoning the RNC’s home-grown fundraising software, which the committee had used in the 2014 midterm elections.
Here’s the problem. If you go ask Reince and the folks at the RNC, they’ll make excuses for this sort of stuff. Remember, they were going to put in charge of the 2012 audit one of the consultants who engaged in self-dealing from the RNC until activists made a stink about it. In 2015, people blew the whistle on self-dealing problems at the RNC and GOP outfits. The chairmen of the RNC may come and go, but the self-dealings of the RNC employees beneath them lasts forever.
It’s unclear how much revenue Revv has earned from working with the RNC. Revv provides campaigns with a “one-tap” donation tool — built on top of Stripe, a payment processing service — typically in exchange for a roughly 1% cut of the donation (in addition to Stripe’s fee), but BuzzFeed News has not seen the exact terms of the RNC’s Revv contract.
Excuses keep getting made. Denials keep getting issued. And the political directors and digital directors of the RNC keep giving their own undisclosed outside companies sweet contracts while making sure their competitors are cut off from competition. It is a really rich irony that the Democrats force their consultants to compete with each other while the pro-free market RNC, NRCC, and NRSC build up consultant class monopolies that try to smother competitors through insider deals.