A Republican campaign donor from south St. Louis County isn’t surprised at U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley’s recent fundraising bounty.
Hawley, the fist-raising, insurrection-supporting junior senator from Missouri, became the national face of sedition on Jan. 6, for the now infamous photo of him encouraging the mob that would go on to invade the U.S. Capitol and leave several people dead in their wake. He became persona non grata in national Republican circles, not that too many of his fellow senators liked him anyway. And even after the insurrection, he persisted with challenging the election results and pushing former President Donald Trump’s Big Lie that the election was stolen from him.
So it seemed a bit of a surprise to some recently when Hawley took in a first quarter fundraising bounty. A local donor knows how he did it.
She knows this because she is one of the people who received one of the solicitations. “His claims of accomplishment are as bogus as his tenure in the Senate,” she wrote me, sharing the copy of the recent letter she received from Hawley’s campaign seeking donations.
It came in the form of one of those computer-created fundraising solicitations that is made to look like a hand-written letter. It’s not, of course, and most people receiving such mail understand the schtick, but that didn’t stop Hawley from playing along.
“I had to sit down and hand-write you this personal note today because I earnestly need your help,” the letter reads. It seems a bit over the top to proclaim earnest intentions when the second sentence in your fundraising letter is a lie. Hawley didn’t hand-write the letter, which is sent on letterhead meant to appear to be from his Senate office.
If you get much political mail, or fundraising solicitations, you know this is all the rage. Make unsuspecting donors believe that you, the politician, really cares about them, enough to take time away from your Fox News interviews sowing sedition to write them and ask for a few dollars to help you in your campaign to vote against every single one of President Joe Biden’s nominees for his cabinet no matter how qualified they are.
The letter goes through Hawley’s career step by step over six pages, and much of it, to use the donor’s word, is bogus. Like his oft-mentioned work before the U.S. Supreme Court on the Hobby Lobby case.
“While working for The Becket Fund, I was a lead attorney in a landmark lawsuit against ObamaCare,” Hawley’s computer pretending to be him wrote in a font meant to look like earnest handwriting. This is Hawley’s favorite bogus humble brag. Yes, he participated in writing a brief for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty on the Hobby Lobby case. But he wasn’t even admitted to the bar to argue before the U.S. Supreme Court. Hawley was a bit player, which is sort of the theme of his career. He’s never actually argued a case before a jury, let alone the Supreme Court.
Then there’s the famous sex trafficking bust that elevated his ladder-climbing career. “My efforts to crack down on human trafficking led to the biggest human trafficking bust in Missouri history.”
That claim is as false as the first time he made it, but it seems so earnest in fake handwriting. In fact, the biggest human trafficking bust in Missouri history was carried out by the FBI about a year before Hawley was elected. Hawley used his private campaign consultants to set up a press event where he bragged about coordinating the raiding of some massage parlors in southwest Missouri. Not a single felony charge was filed. Not one.
But, hey, why should a U.S. Senator let the facts get in the way of a good fundraising pitch? The pitch worked, sort of. Hawley reported raising $3 million last quarter, more than most senators, and he doesn’t face reelection until 2024. Of course, that’s only part of the story. As ProPublica reported this week, Hawley had to spend $600,000 of that haul buying mailing lists, and he relied on a marketing vendor that often takes up to 80 cents on the dollar from some fundraising pitches.