There’s no end to these assholes, part 2.
In late June, about a dozen conservative Gen Z influencers converged on Fort Worth for a few days of right-wing networking. They hit local night spots, posed for group photos and met a far-right Texas billionaire and Donald Trump’s former campaign chair.
And then they took to social media to rally their many followers behind a new, controversial film about human trafficking before turning their support to impeached Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton.
The event was sponsored by a fledgling company, Influenceable LLC, that recruits young, conservative social media figures to promote political campaigns and films without disclosing their business relationship. On its website, the company touts itself as the “world’s largest network of digital activists” and offers clients the power to “cultivate a community of influencers to leverage their credibility” with audiences.
Photos from the event show that Influenceable has powerful allies. Among the speakers were Brad Parscale, who recently moved to Texas after years running the Trump campaign’s digital strategy, and Tim Dunn, the West Texas oil tycoon who has given tens of millions of dollars to ultraconservative movements and candidates in Texas — including Paxton.
Now Influenceable appears to be recruiting young conservatives to parrot claims that the attorney general is the victim of a political witch hunt and, more recently, to promote a series of videos alleging that the Texas Legislature is secretly controlled by Democrats intent on destroying Paxton and other conservatives.
The company’s emergence comes amid Republican initiatives to connect with young Americans who tend to be more supportive of liberal policies.
And while legal experts said Influenceable’s methods don’t appear to run afoul of campaign finance and political advertising rules, the company has already irked some Republicans who say its approaches are deceptive and harmful to democracy. State Rep. Tom Oliverson, R-Cypress, said he may propose new laws to strengthen disclosure requirements because of companies like Influenceable, saying they create “manufactured outrage” and further polarize the country.
“It disgusts me,” Oliverson said in an interview. “It calls into question the value and the validity of their entire message as an influencer. … I think they should all be investigated. I think the company should be investigated, and I think all of these influencers should be outed.”
See here for some background. Let’s all make a note of this, to see if Rep. Oliverson follows up on his words next session. Beyond that, all I can say is read the rest. It’s a long and detailed and increasingly mind-scrambling story of shitty people doing shitty things to help an even shittier person. I didn’t have the fortitude to make it all the way through, maybe you’ll do better than I did.