July 1, 2014 by Press Releases


Cochran campaign sets conservative outreach and inclusion efforts with black Americans back years

Washington D.C. — Late Monday night, news broke that Sen. Thad Cochran’s (R-MS) campaign manager and staffers contacted several pastors including Rev. Stevie Fielder of Meridian, Mississippi, asking them to spread the word to African American voters that Cochran would be offering $15.00 for their vote.  In an audio interview, Fielder admitted to delivering hundreds of votes for Cochran, that the campaign was happening statewide, and that the campaign had a goal of recruiting 10,000 new African American voters, namely Democrat.

Fielder further implicated the Cochran campaign when Cochran campaign aide, Saleem Baird, claimed that challenger State Senator Chris McDaniel was a racist. Baird also serves as a legislative aide to Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS). In 2011 Politico reported that he was taken into custody while running an illegal strip club.

Though the most damning evidence to be presented yet, this isn’t the first claim of illegal electioneering. There have been dozens of accounts chronicled, namely by bloggers and voter integrity groups. Mississippi Democratic Party Chairman Rickey Cole told a local paper, “Large sums of cash are being passed around. These guys are old-school ‘walking around money’ vote buyers.”

Black Conservatives Fund, the only black American group truly involved in the Mississippi Republican primary, released the following statement:

We’ve seen everything in this Mississippi election. There’s been an illegal bank loan to a dark money Super PAC, ideological foes have contributed in attempt to influence specific legislative votes of the 42-year incumbent, mailers and radio ads have been distributed lacking the FEC-required disclosure, and party bosses have joined the payroll of Thad Cochran and his supporting Super PAC. Now there appears to be proof of Cochran’s official campaign committee, not just some outside group, paid its crossover voters.

Black Conservatives Fund calls on the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigations to investigate the claims of voter fraud, wire and mail fraud, and other illegal election activities that may have been committed by Senator Thad Cochran and his campaign aides Saleem Baird and Kirk Sims.

After decades of recorded corruption and poverty, the Magnolia state deserves truth.

We believe inclusion is good. We believe the GOP and conservatives need to expand their voter base. This wasn’t outreach. Black voters ought to be taken as seriously as white voters. Conservative candidates know its an uphill battle, but are willing to fight for those votes. Thad Cochran just set efforts back years by bribing black Democrat voters to cast one time votes for him without bothering to engage them and expand their party options.

While Attorney General Eric Holder has a history of using the department in a politically misguided way, we’re confident the F.B.I. cannot ignore this latest revelation in Mississippi.

There are also questions about possible coordination between Republican National Committeeman Henry Barbour, the Mississippi Conservatives Super PAC front group he ran, funded by former Governor Haley Barbour and lobbyists and their communication with the campaign as it relates to paying for black voters. It is illegal for a campaign committee and a Super PAC to coordinate election expenditures.

The Republican National Committee has yet to comment on Barbour’s role in paying Democratic consultants and the bribing of Democrat voters to swing the Republican primary runoff.

Board member Anita MonCrief shares the dismay many black conservatives have voiced about the allegations, saying, “As black Americans, it is insulting to us all that in 2014, decades after the horrors of Jim Crow that the Cochran campaign would use black voters in such a manner. Anyone that thinks it’s ok to lure black voters to the polls with money and the implied promise of government handouts does not deserve to be a servant of the people.”

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Black Conservatives Fund

We are a federally registered political action committee dedicated to supporting Black conservatives running for public office.