Todd Blodgett Discusses Working for High-Profile Extremists
Todd Blodgett, 39, began working in Republican campaigns while still in his early teens, and eventually landed jobs in the Reagan White House press office, the Bush-Quayle election committee and several state GOP campaigns. In 1995, Blodgett says he was approached by Willis Carto, a long-time anti-Semite and stalwart of America's extreme right, and went to work for him as a marketing consultant.
In the next four years, he would meet and work with other extremists including the notorious William Pierce, leader of the neo-Nazi National Alliance. After his role as a broker for Pierce was revealed in the Intelligence Report, Blodgett says his world began to collapse. In short order, he approached the magazine hoping, he said, to redeem himself publicly.
While he did not disclose all details of his business dealings, Blodgett did offer some revealing glimpses of his former world.
Intelligence Report: Let's start out by discussing your motivations in approaching the Intelligence Report. When we wrote about you in the fall of 1999, we discussed your role in helping William Pierce land control of Resistance Records, America's premier racist rock label.
You've also been associated with other key radical figures in the recent past. Why are you talking to us now? And what were your reasons for your past associations?
Blodgett: Truthfully, the answer is I was very opportunistically inclined. It was business — strictly business — and now I'm paying the price for it, and I'm not happy about it. I was stiffed by Willis Carto to the tune of about $78,000, and I'm angry.
My wife and my parents are not happy about the Washington Post [which ran an article recapitulating the earlier Intelligence Report story], and I want to get past that.
I'm not a hateful person, and I'm not a Holocaust denier [like Carto, who founded Liberty Lobby and other anti-Semitic organizations]. I've been threatened with beheading, and had the office next to mine torn up by a Skinhead — the same Skinhead I ended up paying off with $2,000 in the company of armed guards. I didn't want to come home some night and find my house burning down.
If someone who has the views of Willis Carto or William Pierce came to me now and offered me ten times as much as I made before, I would not take it. I still have some good clients, and I'm working with them. I want to redeem myself in the eyes of my friends and my clients.
IR: Let's talk about how you got to Washington from Iowa [where Blodgett's father, Republican Gary B. Blodgett, is currently serving his fourth term as assistant majority leader], the state you grew up in.
Blodgett: I got into politics when I was 14 or 15 years old. I volunteered for the 1976 Reagan campaign, and I also volunteered while I was in college for the '80 Reagan campaign. After I graduated in 1983, I went to work for the re-election campaign of Sen. Roger Jepsen, who lost in the fall of 1984.
At that point, I lobbied the soon-to-be former senator and Neil Reagan, the president's brother, whom I'd met earlier. About a week after the election, I had a job in the press office of the Reagan White House.
I worked there until the fall of 1986, when I was offered a job at a marketing firm that more than doubled my salary. I wanted to get more involved in business and marketing. That was also the year I met Willis, at some society reception.
He put me down for a subscription to The Spotlight [Carto's conspiracy-minded tabloid], and from time to time he would call me for lunch, maybe three times in the '80s and probably twice in the early '90s. Anyway, I worked at the marketing firm until early 1988.
That year, I joined the Bush campaign, where I worked as a domestic policy analyst, specializing in what we called "wedge" issues — gun control, welfare abuse, capital punishment, crime — the types of issues conducive to getting working-class whites to either not vote, or vote Republican.
I went on to work for the Republican National Committee, where I was assigned to two campaigns in Texas.
IR: So how did you start to enter the world of the radical right?
Blodgett: Republicans lost a lot of seats in 1990 and were kind of on the defensive and I just decided I was tired of politics. So I employed my skills as a salesman and advertising writer with a California entrepreneur who was and is the owner of Slick Times, a kind of Clinton lampoon. In January 1995, I decided to start my own consulting company.
In the meantime, Willis Carto had been contacting me to come work for him. I named a price I thought he'd never meet — $3,500 a month — and sure enough, he agreed. He also gave me an assistant.
IR: What was your role with Carto?
Blodgett: It became obvious The Spotlight was in real trouble — advertising revenue was flat, circulation was down, the readership was aging. They didn't know how to promote it. My job was to try to bring the publication back to life. The Spotlight became the exclusive client of my agency; at the same time, I also was a liaison to other populist and racist publications.
Why did I do it? Very simple. The more people who take The Spotlight, the more I charge for ads and the more ads I sell, the more commissions I make.
Willis was also having me meet with high-dollar donors. On just one weekend, I brought back $60,000 in donations, and there were many others. I would get 20 % of the donations I brought in. But one of the main ways he brought in money was pledges from members of the Board of Policy of Liberty Lobby [the board is a high-dollar "advisory" group for The Spotlight].
There are now 13,500 people on that board, and I would say they generate, all told, a couple of million dollars a year — I'd say between $1.6 million and the low twos. He also gets money from estates when people die and from trusts, that sort of thing.