On Tuesday, ThinkProgress reported that former Governor and current Fox News personality Mike Huckabee has been starring in a new health reform ad campaign run by a political consulting firm owned by a notorious scam artist. The firm Huckabee’s group had hired is 949 Media Group, a company run by Derek Oberholtzer — a notorious scam artist who ripped off foreclosure victims. Before going into political work, Oberholtzer ran a company that promised aid to people facing foreclosure. But prosecutors from Idaho and the federal government found that Oberholtzer had systematically robbed his customers by charging them with fees ranging from $595 – $1,500 without doing a thing to help them with their mortgages. Responding to ThinkProgress’s report, Huckabee colleague Ken Hoagland sent Max Brantley of the Arkansas Times a statement indicating that they will fire Oberholtzer:
Ken Hoagland, chairman of Restore America’s Voice said, “We have terminated the services of 949 Media after we saw a web report last night detailing prior complaints involving its participation in certain mortgage relief marketing activities.” Hoagland said that 949 Media was a subcontracting vendor “responsible for web consulting but was never tasked with any management or leadership role” within the growing national campaign, as originally reported. “We were unaware of the seriousness of the past issues with this vendor and we have taken immediate action to terminate the relationship. No public official working with us to repeal the healthcare act had any knowledge of nor relationship with any vendor or subcontractor,” said Hoagland.
Over the years, Huckabee has been accused of using non-profits to enrich himself and his family. Although it is unclear if Huckabee receives any monetary gains from his latest venture, it is laudable he has at least distanced himself from a scam artist like Oberholtzer.