A professional right-wing troll is trying to lure people to join his protest against the Democratic National Committee in October and he’s promising $15 to attendees.
Jack Burkman, a lawyer and conservative commentator who has wrongly billed himself as “one of Washington's most prominent” lobbyists, posted a Craigslist ad this month that reads: “attend a 45 minute political rally, Oct 24, 11:30am make $15, and $20 if you bring a friend.”
A source who asked not to be named said they messaged the cell phone number connected to the ad and quickly determined that the person on the other end of the conversation was Burkman. The source sent The Daily Beast screenshots of their brief conversation.
"we I meet rite near the capitol," [sic] Burkman texted. "I wil pay u that day wear anything u want 5 buck more for every friend u bring."
When the respondent asked "do I need any signs," Burkman replied, “yes pls make a sign to hold up that says shame on dnc."
The source noted that the experience of texting with Burkman was like texting with a “teenage girl.”
Burkman, who hosts a show on Newsmax TV titled Behind the Curtain, is notorious for running gags that do little more than insert him into random news cycles. Shortly after defensive lineman Michael Sam announced he was gay, Berkman hawked a bill that would bar gay players from playing in the National Football League. And as HuffPost reported in 2014, he has a younger brother who is gay.
“I think the idea that he is pushing legislation that is just hurtful and ridiculous is just plain stupid,” Jim Burkman said. “He is not a legislator and he can’t really push legislation…He is my brother and I love him, and we don’t see eye-to-eye on any political issues, certainly gay rights.”
More recently, the older Burkman has shifted his focus to the vast, wild conspiracy theorizing world surrounding the murder of DNC staffer Seth Rich. He scraped together some media attention earlier this year by supposedly trying to find Rich’s killer by mounting a live reenactment of the killing, a stunt he called a “California thing.” The D.C. police has consistently stated that Rich was murdered as a result of a botched robbery.
Burkman also had a rather public love-hate relationship toward our current president.
In May 2016, Burkman canceled his plans to host an unauthorized fundraiser for Donald Trump’s campaign after a lawyer for Team Trump sent him a letter “formally disavowing” his attempt to throw a high-profile fundraiser for the Republican frontrunner. That fundraiser had been announced, conspicuously, right as Trump begun pledging to “drain the swamp” in Washington.
A few weeks after that, The Daily Beast randomly found itself at an anti-Trump fundraiser at a house in Virginia, where the hosts were none other than Burkman and his wife. There was classical music, free champagne, quinoa cups, a couple planned speakers, and clearly little interest among the audience.
"We're all here for one reason, and that's to stop Donald Trump," Burkman told the small crowd, some of whom were only there because they were friends of the hired chef. Trump, remarkably, was not stopped, despite Burkman’s efforts.
Burkman ended up telling Rolling Stone magazine that his #NeverTrump “Free the Delegates” fundraiser raised over $500,000. Beau Correll, a founder of Free the Delegates, told Mother Jones magazine that he was told the event actually brought in $600 from two, possibly three, people. Correll then called Burkman a “Flim Flam Man,” and said that looking into the lobbyist’s work and track record had “raised more red-flags than a Chinese military parade.”
Burkman’s latest effort to gin up protest at the DNC follows this familiar pattern. It’s also ironic, given how he has previously called out the concept of paid, left-wing protesters on Twitter.
Burkman declined to comment to The Daily Beast on whether or not the Craigslist ad or text messages were his. “I can't offer any comment one way or the other…I don’t comment on futuristic things like this,” he said, adding that “we have a lot of things coming up.”
Burkman also declined to elaborate on who or what “we” meant, emphasized how much he “love[s] reporters,” and again declined comment when The Daily Beast started reading his own phone’s text messages back to him.