'Clear scam': Telemarketing operation funnels cash into shady PACs instead of charities
Three telemarketers face a massive $1 trillion fine for making 117 million illegal calls (Shutterstock)

Dozens of political action committees named in a class-action lawsuit have been identified on mysterious call center's website.

The Daily Beast uncovered the shadowy network of so-called "scam PACs" that disguise themselves as charities -- such as Americans for The Cure of Breast Cancer, American Wounded Veterans and The Firefighters Support Association -- and recycle most of their donations back telemarketing groups and fundraising operations.

"According to The Daily Beast’s analysis of Federal Election Commission filings, the 43 client PACs on the call center website have raised more than $140 million in the last two election cycles alone," reported Roger Sollenberger for the website. "That’s a staggering amount of money — more than former President Donald Trump has raised in total for his flagship Save America PAC."

The call center maintains two lists of clients that include some of the most notorious PACs, such as Law Enforcement for a Safer America, and experts say they all appear to be shady or worse, although federally regulated political action committees are lightly regulated.

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“When we talk about scam PACs, it’s a term that generally means a political action committee that isn’t really spending on candidates or political elections, and is for the most part pushing money to telemarketing and direct mail consultants and the people running the PACs,” said Jordan Libowitz, communications director at Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington.

The federal lawsuit filed in Pennsylvania identifies a network of 24 PACs and four companies tied to one man, Richard Zeitlin, who has denied wrongdoing, that purportedly advocate for firefighters, police, veterans and sick or disabled children and claim to endorse lawmakers who advocate for those issues.

Instead, The Daily Beast reported, the complaint alleges Zeitlin companies “place millions of calls on behalf of these Scam PACs seeking donations for the sole purpose of having those funds funneled back to the Zeitlin Companies by the Scam PACs’ complicit treasurers.”

The operation allegedly uses autodialing and automated responses, which would violate Telephone Consumer Protection Act, and the website houses scripts for payment processing and “rebuttals” to donors, in addition to what appears to be automated soundboard operating instructions to allay donors' concerns.

“This seems like a clear scam where the only reason the PACs exist is to drive money back into these companies,” Libowitz said.