Duane Sand Still Raising Funds For His 2012 Primary Campaign, Runs Afoul Of FEC


Duane Sand is the Republican politician who seems to be running for one federal office or another every single election cycle. He ran for the Senate in 2000, for the House in 2004 and 2008, and the Senate again in 2012.

In that last cycle, Sand skipped the NDGOP’s endorsement convention and ran against fellow Republican Rick Berg on the statewide primary ballot. He lost, and wasn’t on the general election ballot, yet a year after his primary election loss Sand is still fundraising for a campaign that is still seriously in debt.

According to an April 15th filing with the FEC (see below) Sand’s campaign still has $85,214 in debt. From January 1st to March 31st of this year, Sand’s campaign raised $16,499 toward paying off that debt, though in that same time period they also $13,536.

That stunning burn rate is typical for Sand’s campaign. In the last reporting period before the primary election last June, Sand spent $30,000 more than he raised.

At least Sand’s campaign appears to be treading water now, a year later, but he does seem to have run afoul of FEC regulations about contribution limits. On May 13th, the FEC sent Sand’s campaign a letter flagging contributors who appear to have donated, in total, $8,229 over federal maximums.

Should Sand have to refund that total (he may be able to fix the issue by attributing some of the donations to other family members, etc.), he may find it tough. According to the latest FEC numbers, his campaign only has $7,744 on hand.

But what may be most disturbing about all this is the methods Sand deploys to raise funds.

According to the FEC, Sand has raised a total of $1,056,568.14. Of that total, roughly 61% or $644,720.16 has come from small-money contributors. How is Sand doing it?

Via direct mail. At one point Sand’s campaign treasurer, Scott B. MacKenzie, was working for 42 different political campaigns as well as an assortment of independent conservative groups according to the Washington Times. MacKenzie, and his associated Jordan Gehrke, are both associated with a direct mail fundraising outfit called Base Connect which has a reputation for collecting nearly as much in fees from candidates as they raise for those candidates.

According to the last FEC report below, Sand’s campaign still owes Base Connect over $53,000.

Both MacKenzie and Gehrke are also closely associated with Herman Cain, who backed Sand’s Senate run and visited the state to campaign on his behalf.

“Suffice it to say, most of the money Scott Mackenzie and Base Connect handle or raise seems to stay inside the Base Connect universe and does not go towards the causes and candidates they claim to advance,” Drew Ryun of the Madison Project told the Washington Times in 2011.

That certainly sounds like what is going on with Sand. His campaign seems to be on a financial treadmill. What’s worse, that treadmill is running on a fund raising style that seems to bilk small-money political contributors.

Yet, despite years of negative coverage, Base Camp still seems to find willing dupes like Duane Sand.

Duane Sand 1st Quarter 2013 FEC Report