I’ve written several times about how right wing leaders and websites use their mailing lists to make big money by selling scams to their followers. The New Republic has another report about this phenomenon, this time focusing on Herman Cain and Newt Gingrich.
But sometimes Cain’s digital missives, like a conversation with a weird uncle, veer into the unexpected. An example—there are more and more to choose from—is a message that Cain sent to his followers last July bearing the subject line, “BREAKTHROUGH: REMEDY FOR ED!”
“ED” stood for, yes, erectile dysfunction. As for the all-caps-worthy remedy, its details were not immediately clear. Language in the body of the message identified the potion as a product of Natural Breakthroughs Research LLC; a link farther down led to a website urging men to submit their e-mail addresses in order to receive “a cool free report” on impotence abatement. Sitting through a lengthy video finally yielded more information on the wonder drug, TestoMax 200, a putative natural testosterone booster. The e-mail’s final offer varied by recipient—a common marketing tactic—but could be $69.95 for a month’s supply, or $47 for something called “The Potency Programme.” Not interested? Are you sure? “Women get lonely very easily,” began one version of the pop-up windows barring the exit. “Once you leave this page, your chances of getting your manhood mojo back will decrease dramatically.”
The erectile-dysfunction ad is one of more than 50 similar pitches for miracle cures and easy-money tricks that Cain has passed along to his e-mail followers over the past two years. While he has been particularly unabashed in his embrace of the practice, he is not the only past presidential candidate hawking sketchy products. Newt Gingrich now pings the e-mail subscribers to his Gingrich Productions with messages from an investment firm formed by a conspiracy theorist successfully sued for fraud by the Securities and Exchange Commission. Mike Huckabee uses his own production company’s list to blast out links to heart-disease fixes and can’t-miss annuities.
That right wing conspiracy theorist is, of course, Porter Stansberry, a con man who has been nailed in the past for SEC violations. He obviously finds fertile ground for his scams among the denizens of the right wing fever swamps because he buys those mailing lists all the time.