Former DCCC Insiders' Firm Banked Millions From Ossoff's Failed Campaign

Ossoff paid Dem firm more than Republican Karen Handel's campaign spent the entire election

Getty Images
June 21, 2017

A firm started by former insiders for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) hauled in millions of dollars from the failed campaign of Democratic candidate Jon Ossoff, Federal Election Commission records show.

Ossoff's campaign pulled in more than $23 million in contributions during the record-breaking special election in Georgia's sixth congressional district. The campaign disbursed $22.5 million and had $1 million left on hand at the time of its latest filings to the FEC.

The astronomical expenditures from the Ossoff campaign turned into a bonanza for a firm that was launched by veterans of the DCCC.

Greg Berlin, Jake Lipsett, and Charles Starnes, all former digital fundraising specialists for the DCCC, founded Mothership Strategies, a Washington, D.C., based progressive digital firm that specializes in online fundraising, digital advertising, and grassroots advocacy.

The group boasts of their assistance of the Ossoff campaign on their website.

"Mothership Strategies is proud to be on Team Ossoff, working to flip Georgia's 6th Congressional District from Red to Blue for the first time in decades," the website reads. "The movement that's happening on the ground in Georgia has led to some of the most impressive grassroots support we've seen—ever."

Mothership Strategies received $3.9 million in payments from the Ossoff campaign for online fundraising consulting, advertisement production, and media buys, filings show.

The amount that Mothership received from Ossoff's campaign was more than Republican Karen Handel's campaign spent during the entire special election.

Handel, who defeated Ossoff by nearly five percentage points, raised $4.5 million and reported spending $3.2 million throughout the course of the election, an amount that is $700,000 less than what Mothership was paid by Ossoff.

Some who were familiar with Mothership's connection to Ossoff campaign took to social media to express their displeasure with the alleged work of the group.

Mothership was also paid $310,793 for their help on the failed special election campaign of Montana Democrat Rob Quist, records show.

The firm did not return a request for comment by press time.

Georgia's special election was the most expensive U.S. House race in history, shattering a record that was previously held by the 2012 Florida race between Democrat Patrick Erin Murphy and Republican Allen West. That race had $29.5 million in total spending.

Georgia's special election ultimately surpassed $50 million in total expenditures.

Ossoff's campaign expenditures and help from outside groups surpassed $30 million. Handel's just over $20 million.