Infomercial salesman for Senate

INFOMERCIAL SALESMAN FOR SENATE…. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) is worried enough about his August primary fight with former Rep. J.D. Hayworth (R-Ariz.) to keep campaigning pretty aggressively.

But McCain may have caught a break this week, with revelations about what Hayworth was up to after voters threw him out of Congress. (video by way of TPM’s Rachel Slajda)

Republican Senate challenger J.D. Hayworth appeared in a 2007 television infomercial in which he helped convince viewers that they could rake in big bucks by attending seminars that would teach them how to apply for federal grants that they wouldn’t have to pay back.

National Grants Conferences, the Florida-based company that hosted the classes and produced the informercial, has faced criticism from multiple state attorneys general and Better Business Bureaus.

Hayworth, a former Arizona congressman who is running against incumbent Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., in the Aug. 24 GOP primary, made the infomercial after losing his U.S. House seat in the 2006 election…. The infomercial promotes seminars that ostensibly instruct attendees how to get the “free money grants.” Tucson TV station KVOA did an investigation of National Grants Conferences [and] found that the workshops cost from $999 to $1,200 and federal government grants really aren’t even available to individuals.

Just on the surface, being a former congressman and making the transition to infomercial pitch-man is kind of humiliating. But the key here isn’t just the job, but what Hayworth was pitching.

This wasn’t just some kitchen gadget. Hayworth was peddling dubious seminars on how to get tax dollars from the government — not exactly a Tea Party-friendly, reducing-public-spending kind of message — and he told viewers that they had to go to these expensive gatherings to get information that was readily available to the public for free. That Hayworth was hooked up with a controversial company with an awful reputation only adds insult to injury.

The next question, then, is how something like this can/will affect the campaign. At first blush, this seems pretty damaging to Hayworth — “sleazy infomercial pitch-man” isn’t usually on a senator’s resume — but Steve M. has a creative explanation as to why right-wing voters might actually like Hayworth’s tactics.