Virgin Islands Republican Spending Tunnels Into A Tawdry Tangle
The leaders of the Virgin Islands Republican Party want to send out a bunch of messages in the mail to voters, warning them not to vote for Hillary Clinton. Now, when you and I want to send a letter in the mail, we know what to do. We write the letter, and get an envelope and stamp for it, then take it on down to the post office.
That’s not how the leaders of the Virgin Islands Republican Party live. They can’t be bothered even to send their own mail.
This week, the Virgin Islands Republican Party paid tens of thousands of dollars to a company called ForthRight Strategy – just to send out its mail. It seems like a strange decision, because ForthRight Strategy isn’t a local company in the Virgin Islands. ForthRight Strategy is located far away from the Virgin Islands, at 1155 15th Street NW, Suite 410, Washington, D.C. 20005.
This same address was also once home to Base Connect, another political fundraising organization. ForthRight Strategy’s CEO, Kimberly Bellissimo, was also the CEO of Base Connect. Search online for “Base Connect”, and ForthRight Strategy is the first result that comes up. These connections aren’t coincidental. ForthRight Strategy is the new name of Base Connect, which itself was once called BMW Direct.
ForthRight Strategy brags about its supposed ethical values. Its profile of Bellissimo asserts that, “Kimberly is a hardliner about the members of her team. They must share her total and steadfast commitment to an ethical, straightforward, open method of doing business — and, most importantly, delivering success. That’s the stuff that ForthRight is founded on.” However, the company has already had to change its name twice because of its association with unethical behavior. In fact, ForthRight has been called one of the “biggest villains in junk mail”. BMW Direct became infamous for keeping almost all of the money it raised on behalf of candidates and causes for itself, giving barely anything to The supposed beneficiaries. Last year, Base Connect’s chief operating officer, Michael Centanni, was convicted of possession of child pornography – some of which he seemed to have created himself.
Why would the Virgin Islands Republican Party send money to such an unscrupulous organization? The treasurer of the Virgin Islands Republican Party PAC is also the treasurer of Freedom’s Defense Fund, a political action committee that shares the same address as ForthRight Strategy. The name of this treasurer is Scott Mackenzie, a well-known political scam artist. Mackenzie was also once listed as a “strategic partner” on the Forthright Strategy web site, though this reference has since been deleted.