Think Progress has discovered that recent television commercials featuring Florida resident and former Gov. Mike Huckabee rallying viewers to sign a repeal petition against Obama’s health care reform measures are part of a campaign managed by 949 Media Group, a firm run by a notorious scam artist known for bilking struggling homeowners seeking to renegotiate their mortgages.
According to a representative from Restore America’s Voice, a PAC headed by a friend of Huckabee’s, Derek Oberholtzer has been the man behind the group’s campaign since it formed in October.
From Think Progress:
Consumer report websites are rife with complaints about Oberholtzer’s odious business practices. In one scheme, Oberholtzer paid for radio and other advertisements telling distressed homeowners to contact his company A2S to pay a flat $595 fee to receive assistance in renegotiating their loans or to block a bank foreclosure. The Federal Trade Commission has prosecuted Oberholtzer for deceptive practices. In numerous cases, Oberholtzer took the $595 payment, and never did anything to stop a foreclosure or even contact the mortgage company in question. In many instances he continued billing his customers further fees totaling nearly $1,000 without lifting a finger to actually renegotiate their mortgage or halt a foreclosure, as his “Apply 2 Save” company promised.
On message boards discussing mortgage fraud, story after story details A2S’s trickery. There are heartbreaking tales of families spending their last savings on a lifeline promised by Oberholtzer’s company — only to be defrauded and forced out of their homes.
Once he was driven out of the business of defrauding already desperate people facing foreclosure, Oberholtzer became active in Republican politics. The “Repeal It Now” campaign set up by Restore America’s Voice and 949 Media Group claims endorsements from Huckabee, Joe “The Plumber” Wurzelbacher, and somehow from deceased president Ronald Reagan. Olberholtzer also owns inactive domains called electmichele.org (presumably for Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), repeality.biz, electme2012.com, and ravpac.info. The “Repeal It Now” campaign Huckabee stars in does nothing to accurately discuss health reform or address the health care crisis. It only exists to rake in donations and spread right-wing hysteria.
Huckabee currently hosts his own show on Fox News and is one of a handful of likely candidates to run for the GOP nomination in 2012. A poll released Monday has Huckabee leading that race in Florida, with former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney finishing second.