If you live in Wisconsin and you follow politics, you’ve likely heard of Asher Heimermann (pictured, left).
If you haven’t heard of Asher Heimermann, he’s an 18-year-old Sheboygan resident who’s made a name for himself (whether good or bad) as a political activist. At just 17-years-old, Heimermann ran for Mayor of Sheboygan after the incumbent mayor became the target of a recall effort, and it was during Heimermann’s mayoral campaign that he came under fire for possible identity after he set up a parody Twitter account using Mayor Bob Ryan’s name. Heimermann proceeded to use the parody Twitter account to make fun of Bob Ryan, prompting Ryan (through his attorney) to send Heimermann a cease and desist letter.
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. Here’s a screenshot of the ActBlue page in question:
As you can see, the ActBlue page set up by AsherPAC could be confusing to the average person looking to make a donation to Barrett’s official campaign. The page appears to have been set up by “Wisconsin United for Tom Barrett,” which is 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 know that the page was actually set up by AsherPAC.
As if Heimermann’s confusing ActBlue page weren’t curious enough, Heimermann had 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.
Here’s a screenshot of the Twitter account set up by AsherPAC:
Reached for comment about his confusing ActBlue page, 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.” Heimermann did not provide any actual verification of his statement that the money raised through his confusing “Wisconsin for Tom Barrett” ActBlue page was used on Facebook ads, so it’s unclear exactly how the money Heimermann raised was spent. According to the Wisconsin Campaign Finance Information System (CFIS) AsherPAC has not yet filed any documentation relating to the organization of the PAC or the money it’s raised, and the “official” AsherPAC Twitter feed has been taken down, leaving me with more questions than answers when it comes to AsherPAC.
So here’s what I’m wondering: is Asher Heimermann simply a passionate yet misguided young activist, or is he a political scam artist?