Scam Wow!


A 2007 television infomercial in which former Rep. J.D. Hayworth promoted seminars for “free money grants” from the federal government has resurfaced to shake up his Republican primary challenge to incumbent Sen. John McCain of Arizona.

Hayworth, who lost his seat in Congress in 2006 and now is running against McCain from the right as an anti-spending, “tea-party”-style conservative, appeared in the 30-minute infomercial to help assure viewers that hundreds of billions of dollars could be available to them.

Original DVD cover
(Click on the image, and then click on that for a larger version)

The main point of the program was to persuade viewers to attend workshops that ostensibly instructed attendees how to secure the free government cash.

But National Grants Conferences, the Florida-based company that hosted the classes and produced the infomercial with Hayworth, has drawn criticism from multiple state attorneys general and the Better Business Bureau, which slapped it with a negative “F” rating.

In introducing Hayworth, the National Grants Conferences infomercial cited his past service on the “powerful” House Ways and Means Committee, which oversees tax legislation, and Hayworth vouched for the claims that billions were available to savvy Americans.


Others are dubious of those claims.

Vermont Attorney General William Sorrell settled a 2006 consumer-fraud lawsuit against National Grants Conferences by requiring it to pay the state a $65,000 fine and allow consumers to seek more than $325,000 in refunds. The company filed for bankruptcy in 2008.

The U.S. government website also provides this warning: “We have all seen them: late night infomercials, websites and reference guides, advertising ‘millions in free money.’ Don’t believe the hype! Although there are many grants on, few of them are available to individuals and none of them are available for personal financial assistance.”


Mark Sanders, a Hayworth campaign spokesman, said Hayworth was introduced to National Grants Conferences by his friend J.C. Watts, a former Oklahoma Republican congressman who also did some work for the company and was unaware of its reputation among consumer advocates.

Hayworth participated only in the single 2007 infomercial and can’t recall how much he was paid for the job, Sanders said.


Larry Sabato, director of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia, called the infomercial “very damaging” to Hayworth’s bid in Arizona’s Aug. 24 GOP primary.

“He was depending on the anti-government, anti-spending crowd to nominate him,” Sabato said. “Now, here he is as a Matthew Lesko clone telling people how to get free money from the government. Hayworth looks like a first-class hypocrite.”

Sanders said McCain is the hypocrite for trying to exploit Hayworth’s past association with the company, because National Grants Conferences co-founder Michael Milin, who also appeared in the infomercial, gave $9,400 to McCain’s 2008 presidential efforts.

Brian Rogers, McCain’s campaign spokesman, said McCain raised more than $400 million from 1.5 million donors in 2008 and recently donated the Milin money to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Metropolitan Phoenix.

Rogers pointed to the actions of the state attorneys general as well as a 2009 investigation by Tucson TV station KVOA, which found National Grants Conferences charging $999 to $1,200 for seminars that provided information that was available for free elsewhere.

Thirty-three attorneys general and the executive director of Hawaii’s Office of Consumer Protection sent a June 18, 2007, letter to the Federal Trade Commission that included criticism of National Grants Conferences practices.

“There’s clearly no comparison here,” Rogers said. “J.D. Hayworth lent his name and the credibility of the U.S. Congress to an obvious rip-off scam. . . . Senator McCain obviously never did that.”

You mean all those get-rich-quick infomercials are lying to me? The next thing you know, it’ll turn out that WWE wrestling is fake, too!


Filed under 2008 election, Advertising, Congress, humor, John McCain, movies, parody, politics, Republicans, Senate, snark, television, Wordpress Political Blogs

12 responses to “Scam Wow!

  1. I though Hayworth was sleazy, but I didn’t know he was this sleazy!

    Speaking of WWE, when are you going to feature Linda McMahon on a cover–or have you and I just missed it?

  2. jeb

    Wait! WWE is fake?

    Hayworth’s a scumbag?

    CU is a hypocrite?

    My God, it’s all too much to take in at once.

  3. Don’t think that infomercial will bother his devout followers. Some have even bought into it and paid the $1200, and bought the tape sets, and books, and go to all the seminars because it all deals with the most important thing in life: money, more money, getting money, controling money, cash, filthy lucre, mammon, gold coins and stacks of silver, counting money, having more money, manipulating all your kids and relatives with the money, hoarding money, loving the money, worshiping the money, adoring the money, telling that money that it is the only reason to exist! The smart thing to do is call up Lesko and borrow that idiotic coat with all the question marks and wear it to rallies and chant “Money! And more money!” If that doesn’t work, just buy the votes. It just takes some money.

    • i would agree with you, jerry, except for one thing. the teabagging king, glenn blechhh, has already decreed that j.d. is toast. i’m afraid that their little heads will ‘splode. what will they do? use the argument that j.d. might be sleazy, but he’s better than capt underpants, and when you stop and think about it, the money he was saying you can get was actually supplied by capt u. however, glenn blechhh has told them that they can’t vote for j.d.. oh my! this is quite the dilemma. maybe all the j.d. fans will go over to the jim deakin camp. he hates teh gays, and he seems to be teabaggy enough:

  4. writechic

    I know Hayworth is the lowest sort, but it’s particularly sickening that he held an office where he should have been protecting people and instead he was preying on their gullibility.

    • that seems to be the rethuglican playbook. don’t plan for what might happen years from now. just do what will reward you in the short term, whether it be making a lot of money for doing very little work or winning an election. that’s the mindset of the teabaggin’ crowd, too. they’ll scream about getting rid of social programs, but when you ask them what they’ll do without social security or medicare when they get old or if they should be disabled, they don’t have an answer.

  5. Anonomys

    Mccains out & JD is in… The silent ones will speak loudly at the polls… You’ll see.