I have received numerous calls from an outfit falsely presenting as a charity. (I?m actually on a no-call list, but that?s a separate complaint.) After yet another pestering call from this organization seemingly afflicted with marketing rabies, I decided to investigate.
The callers have all been women, making a heartfelt plea for financial support for the political action committee they represent, Breast Cancer Health Council. If you?d like to eavesdrop on this manipulative spiel, you can listen to ?Call # 1? on this ?Scam Jam? video.
If you do a Google search for BCHC, you?ll quickly discover it has no discernible public persona, no good works, and no accolades for charitable services rendered. There is only a poorly-designed website urging you to go out and do the good work of fighting breast cancer, work which you probably naively thought your charitable donation would foster. Yet this super PAC has raked in nearly 1.5 million dollars in 2018 alone. Since it is a political action committee, it must report its income and its disbursements. You can see this information for Breast Cancer Health Council on several websites monitoring these often sketchy PACS and super PACS. Here?s their profile on one of those sites.
The treasurer of BCHC is Zachary Bass. I?m guessing he is the originator of this whole scheme. I?m also going to go out on a limb here and guess this is largely a one-man operation (not counting the peonage of telemarketers) with one big kahuna, Mr. Bass, deciding where all these donations go. I noticed that even though BCHC has registered as a PAC, they have not funded any political candidates whatsoever. This is because BCHC is a Super PAC. Super PACS, unlike traditional PACS, do not fund candidates directly. According to a primer on Super PACS at Vox.com, they are supposed to ?spend heavily on their own independently produced ads promoting their preferred candidates or attacking their opponents.? But where is the accountability in this process? There seems to be very little to no oversight and accountability. Where is one iota of proof that the millions of dollars in donations made to this Super PAC in the name of breast cancer actually result in one whit of improvement in the situation of those suffering with the disease? In other words, how do we know this is not a total fraud?
When you have F.E.C. Commissioner Ellen Weintraub throwing her arms up and saying, ?A lot of money can be collected without a lot of regulation,? you know this situation is rife for abuse. When you look at BCHC?s disbursements of cash, they seem to be going to a handful of firms. The first one I Googled was Tampa Media Marketing, which received well over one hundred thousand dollars in the last disbursement of cash from the ?breast cancer? PAC. Are you thinking maybe I used those scare quotes just now because I suspect that all these pseudo-charity PACS are just throwing ?empathy shibboleths? like ?cancer? and ?police? and ?veterans? at the random person who?s answering their calls? Well, you?d be 100% correct.
I suspected that when I looked this firm up, Tampa Media Marketing, I would find Zachary Bass?s name attached to it. Sure enough, that?s exactly what I found. So it appears Zach Bass is getting rich off an emotional appeal to our desire to help those struggling with the nightmare of breast cancer. I suspect what donors are actually doing is subsidizing Zachary Bass?s probably extravagant lifestyle.
I checked another one of the firms that received the lion?s share of the last disbursements of moolah and this one, Market Process Group, seems to be a snakepit of money-gathering from all sorts of PACS soliciting funds in the name of helping veterans or police officers. I would gladly take any bets from those who think these are ?probably upright PACs doing honest work.? Uh, no. Hell no. You can read about this new trend of creating a PAC to get rich quick in this Politico article. You, too, could become a millionaire overnight by exploiting your fellow Americans? compassion for those facing a potentially terminal illness. All you need is a good spiel of lies and absolutely no morals. And a bunch of phones making robocalls. I was talking to a real, live telemarketer when I took my last call from BCHC. I didn?t get the robo-solicitor that the Spam Jam guy did. The next time she calls, I?m going to have a little talk with her about her PAC and ask her a number of questions. The first question will be, ?So which set of hot wheels is Zach driving today??
After poking around on the internet a little further, I discovered a nifty profile of Mr. Zachary Bass, which includes some of his further exploits in ringing the empathy bell to see who will throw money at him. What a dreamboat.
This additional information confirms that my strong skepticism about BCHC was correct. He?s running all the scam bases with fake charities. Bass has just set up shop in the super-lucrative Super PAC territory because it?s so unregulated. It?s a grifter?s gold mine. If you read that linked article, you will learn that the F.E.C. was checking up on him because he was putting vague explanations of his expenditures on F.E.C forms, like simply the single word ?media.? This is where that lack of oversight and accountability with regard to these Super Pacs really costs the American citizen serious money. If it looks like a scam, and quacks like scam, it probably is a scam.
I reported this Super PAC to the FTC, and I encourage you to do the same if they contact you. It only takes a few minutes to fill out the form online and it will help in any potential further action against this pinkwashing con-artist masquerading as a charity.