Candidate Who Denounced Super Pacs Hires the Guy Who Created Them

You’re probably not going to be shocked if I say that Donald Trump lied. Here is what he said last October:

He also said this:

“I am self-funding my campaign and therefore I will not be controlled by the donors, special interests and lobbyists who have corrupted our politics and politicians for far too long,” Trump said in a statement. “I have disavowed all Super PAC’s, requested the return of all donations made to said PAC’s, and I am calling on all Presidential candidates to do the same. The character of our country is only as strong as our leaders — the only special interest I am beholden to is the American people and together we will Make America Great Again!”

The idea that Trump was going to self-fund his campaign has become a joke. And he now has several super pacs working on his behalf. As a matter of fact, he just hired someone to work in his campaign who – along with Kellyanne Conway – had been running the “Defeat Crooked Hillary” super pac, David Bossie.

But the irony goes much deeper than that. Bossie also worked for the organization Citizens United – the very one that opened the door for the creation of super pacs through that Supreme Court case back in 2010. Let’s take one more step down into this rabbit hole. That case was based on a movie that Citizens United created to destroy the reputation of the candidate Bossie’s new boss is now running against…Hillary Clinton. What we’re watching unfold is that Donald Trump has now hired the very guy who defined what Hillary once referred to as the “vast right wing conspiracy.”

To get a little background on Bossie, you can do no better than to read what Heather Digby Parton recently wrote about his history.

What many people may not know, however, is the history of Citizens United. It goes all the way back to the 1980s when it was created by the notorious hatchet man from Arkansas, Floyd Brown of Willie Horton fame. In 1992, in anticipation of a flood of juicy opportunities for character assassination of fellow Arkansan Bill Clinton, he brought on David Bossie, a young and ambitious GOP operative. Their joint effort was a massive and instant success with the media, which used it as a major “source” for years.

Bossie then went on to be chief investigator for Dan “Watermelon Man” Burton before he was forced to resign because his tactics were viewed as beyond-the-pale for then-House Speaker Newt Gingrich (yeah, you read that right). But take a look at how Parton describes Bossie’s work and see if it doesn’t ring some bells.

Citizens United became a clearinghouse for all this shady material, alternating between spoon feeding enticing tidbits to the press and dumping vast amounts of incomprehensible material that sounded bad but ended up being misleading at best when the facts were untangled. This was the essence of ’90s-style “smell test” politics in which many people observed the sheer volume of complicated accusations, threw up their hands and assumed that where there’s this much smoke there must be a fire somewhere.

Deja vu anyone?

Now take a look at how Robert Costa describes Bossie’s role in the Trump campaign after talking to Kellyanne Conway.

Bossie will also work on crafting attacks against Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, mining past controversies involving her and former president Bill Clinton, and cultivating Trump’s bond with conservative activists.

That is the kind of campaign Donald Trump, Kellyanne Conway and Stephen Bannon are planning to run for the last two months of this election cycle. So far our media hasn’t demonstrated that they learned a thing about how this nonsense is wrecking our politics and their reputation. So hold onto your hats, we’re heading towards a Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy 2.0 version.

Nancy LeTourneau

Nancy LeTourneau is a contributing writer for the Washington Monthly.