The name of longtime local Republican political operative Brett Bader's consulting firm has suddenly popped up in the ongoing Alaska political-corruption probe. Private-prison developer Bill Weimar yesterday pleaded guilty to two felonies in connection with a conspiracy to "secretly funnel money to a political consultant for an unnamed state Senate candidate," knowing the candidate would back a private prison if he won, the Anchorage Daily News reports today.
The paper identified the unnamed Alaska state senator as former legislator Jerry Ward, a Republican who "fervently pushed private prison projects as a legislator." The consultant wasn't named in court either, but assistant U.S. Attorney Joe Bottini said he was from Seattle, and the paper pointed the finger at Bader's firm. Reports the News:
Some of Ward's biggest campaign expenses in 2004 were more than $43,000 in fees charged by Madison Communications, an advertising and public relations firm based in suburban Kirkland, Wash. Numerous calls left for Madison principal Brett Bader on Monday were not returned.
I couldn't reach Bader either at his home or office phone this morning. Court documents show a series of calls between the convicted Weimar, who is represented by Seattle attorney David Bukey, and the unnamed candidate and consultant in 2004. The consultant told Weimar that the candidate needed ten grand to continue his campaign. Weimar said "There's no legal way" for him to help out - "At least not on that scale." Says the paper:
Later that day, Weimar arranged to cover the next advertising mailer for the candidate, and told the candidate so, the document says.On Aug. 20, 2004, Weimar told the candidate of an unpaid invoice of $20,000 with the consultant.The candidate's campaign funds were depleted, the charges say. The candidate said he had only $300 to $400 left in his account.
On Aug. 23, 2004, Weimar made arrangements with the consultant to pay off the debt, the charges say. He then called the candidate and told him "he would not be receiving any further bills from Consultant A," the charging document says. Weimar sent the consulting company a $3,000 check on Aug. 23, 2004, then sent $8,500 in cash that same day by express mail, and another $8,500 cash the day after, the charges say.
Bader personally has neither been named nor charged in the case. He's been a popular consultant for local Republicans, most recently helping Jane Hague retain her county council seat. Bader also was leader of I-912, the failed 2005 gas-tax reduction initiative.