Back in June, I highlighted the curious case of Asher Heimermann, and at the time I wondered whether Heimermann was a passionate (thought misguided) young political activist or a political scam artist.
As I wrote at the time, shortly after getting just 38 votes in the Sheboygan mayoral recall primary, Heimermann quickly pivoted into a run for the State Assembly as a Democrat. Just three months later (April 23, 2012 to be exact) Heimermann suspended his Assembly campaign due to “unforeseen circumstances,” and not too long after that Heimermann announced the formation of his own Political Action Committee (PAC), immodestly called AsherPAC.
Upon the formation of AsherPAC, Heimermann set up an ActBlue page to raise money for his PAC, but the ActBlue page in question (which has since been removed) raised money under the auspices of that money being used to help elect Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, the Democratic challenger to Republican Gov. Scott Walker in the June 5 recall election. The page in question made it seem as if individuals making a donation were actually making a donation to Mayor Barrett’s gubernatorial recall campaign. The page indicated it was set up by “Wisconsin United for Tom Barrett,” which was not affiliated in any way, shape, or form with Barrett’s gubernatorial recall campaign, instead being a “project of AsherPAC,” according to Asher Heimermann. However, unless an individual looking to make a donation were to actually scroll down on the “Wisconsin United for Tom Barrett” ActBlue page, that individual wouldn’t have known that the page was actually set up by AsherPAC.
As if Heimermann’s confusing ActBlue page weren’t curious enough, Heimermann (pictured, left) also set up a Twitter account (@Barrett2012) and a Facebook page (Wisconsin For Tom Barrett) from which he had posted links to the AsherPAC ActBlue account. Heimermann had also purchased the domain “wisconsinforbarrett.com,” which was very similar to Barrett’s actual site, barrettforwisconsin.com Before the “wisconsinforbarrett.com” website came under the control of the real Barrett campaign, Heimermann had his Barrett website re-directing visitors to his ActBlue account.
Reached for comment about his confusing ActBlue page at the time of my original report, Heimermann indicated “Wisconsin for Tom Barrett” was a project of AsherPAC and that the money raised through that page was used on “Targeted Facebook Ads.” However, a look at the July Continuing Report filed by AsherPAC on July 16, 2012 of the $642 raised from individuals during the reporting period, only $50 was spent on targeted ads on Facebook, while Asher Heimermann paid himself $200 on May 29 for “consulting.” AsherPAC also spent over $200 to Boost mobile for a cell phone and over $200 on a digital camera. In fact, AsherPAC spent more on food (over $70) than it did on the targeted Facebook ads Asher Heimermann said AsherPAC was raising money for on ActBlue.
While the expenses I’ve noted may all be legitimate (or at least legal), I can’t help but question the motives of a PAC (and the individual running the PAC) when it spends more money on food, cell phones, digital cameras, and “consulting fees” than it does on actual donations to candidates or for costs directly associated with political advocacy.
So here’s what I’m wondering: is Asher Heimermann simply a passionate yet misguided young activist, or is he a political scam artist?