In February 2020, Troy Nehls (R-TX) made a last minute plea on Facebook to “vote Nehls for Congress to send President Trump an ally who will help him finish the wall, protect our Constitution, [and] drain the swamp.”
Despite his promises to drain the swamp, Nehls’s political consultants — one of the largest consulting firms in the United States — appears to have created a business earning millions from unknowing taxpayers.
The hustle is simple.
A couple of companies, Axiom Strategies and Ax Media, is paid to get conservative Congressional candidates elected, often being paid hundreds of thousands in the process. Once the candidate is elected, another company, Capitol Franking Group, LLC, provides printing, graphics and other services to these offices for their franked mail, a Congressional privilege of sending mail without postage payment.
Axiom Strategies, Ax Media, and Capitol Franking Group are all founded by the same person, Jeff Roe, successful political consultant known for his “brass-knuckled approach to winning.”
In the last Congressional cycle, Roe collected more than $4 million from political candidates and, in the last five years, billed Congress more than $8.4 million for franked mail, according to an analysis by Moonlight Foundation of FEC and Congressional spending data. Roe’s businesses have done work for Rep. Earl “Buddy” Carter (R-GA), Rep. Diana Harshbarger (R-TN), Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-WA), Rep. John Katko (R-NY), among other members. Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-NC) and Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) have hired hired Capitol Franking Group for their franked material, according to public records.
The Daily Beast first reported on this scheme in 2019, but Roe has continued to earn millions from taxpayer money and his relationships with some of the most conservatives in Congress.
For instance, John C. Foster worked at Axiom Strategies from July 2016 to November 2018 when he was hired as the Chief of Staff for Rep. Kevin Hern (R-OK). Since Foster was hired, Rep. Hern has paid more than $413,000 to the Capitol Franking Group, LLC.
Working in politics has meant a big cash boon for Roe, allowing his family to enjoy multiple multi-million dollar homes across the country, including recently buying an oceanfront property in Florida, according to an analysis of public records.
Allowing a company to consult for a Congressional campaign and then hiring the same company to produce official work appears to be an inappropriate blending of campaign and congressional duties.