Begala Makes Bundle by Ditching Beliefs

Though ‘opposed’ to Super PACs, Dem operative banks hundreds of thousands

Paul Begala / WC

MSNBC commentator Paul Begala has been vocal in his criticism of the Supreme Court ruling that, among other things, allowed Super PACs to continue spending hundreds of millions of dollars on election advertising.

He has been less forthcoming about the fact that he is making a tidy living "consulting" the largest pro-Obama Super PAC, Priorities USA Action, as well as the 501(c)(4) nonprofit, Priorities USA.

Open Secrets reports:

FEC filings show that Begala received well over $400,000 from Priorities USA Action, the super PAC, in return for his consulting services between April 2011 and November 2012.

But the recently filed Form 990 of Priorities USA, the nonprofit, shows that it, too, has been paying Begala handsomely. In the first eight months of the 501(c)(4)'s existence, Begala received more than $184,000 for "communications consulting," making him Priorities' top independent contractor.

The 501(c)(4) Priorities USA recently filed its first 990 form, which showed that it had received $2.3 million in donations from five donors during the first eight months of its existence. Given the nature of the disclosure forms, it is difficult to tell where this "dark money"—a term frequently used by liberals to describe secret donations to groups they do not care for—comes from:

One donor alone gave more than 80 percent of Priorities' total revenue in 2011, or $1.9 million of about $2.3 million. The next largest contributions were much lower, $250,000 and $50,000.

Whether the donors were corporations, individuals, unions or other nonprofits that also don't have to disclose their donors is impossible to know from the form.