In the final months of the 2020 campaign, Rep. Paul Gosar recruited a consultant tied to a far-right website and a slew of extremist candidates—a figure so far on the fringe that neo-Confederate Senate candidate Corey Stewart fired him in 2018 over his racism and conspiracy-mongering online.
Federal Elections Commission filings show the Arizona Republican, who himself recently appeared at a white nationalist conference and allegedly helped plan the rally ahead of the Capitol riot, paid $30,623 to the North Carolina-based Southern Pine Strategies between July and December 2020. Tar Heel incorporation records show the firm to have been administratively dissolved, but also reveal its owner to be Noel Fritsch.
As The Daily Beast reported in 2019, Fritsch and partner Reilly O’Neal came off the failed Senate campaign of accused Alabama child molester Roy Moore and took over Big League Politics, an alt-right website that has pushed conspiracy theories and ex-President Donald Trump.
But Fritsch first came to national prominence in 2016 as a spokesman for Wisconsin white nationalist Paul Nehlen’s primary bid against then-Rep. Paul Ryan. FEC reports show that Fritsch got his first check from Nehlen’s campaign just a few months after the Tea Party-aligned businessman suggested deporting all Muslims from the United States. And he stuck with the candidate through December 2017, even as Nehlen promoted the deadly Charlottesville rally and the “Pizzagate” conspiracy theory, tweeted “it’s okay to be white” and other far-right memes, appeared on the white power podcast “Fash the Nation,” and unleashed a string of anti-Semitic comments social media posts that provoked even his former supporters at Breitbart into disowning him.
The FEC records show Fritsch received his last payment from Nehlen one day after the candidate declared himself “pro-white” and complained about “Jewish supremacy” to the Washington Post.
Fritsch’s own Internet invective would soon haunt him, too. In June 2018, CNN found that he had also propagated the Pizzagate fantasy on Twitter, repeated on multiple platforms the conspiracy theory that Hillary Clinton had late Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich assassinated, and made a slew of anti-Black, anti-gay, and Islamophobic online remarks. His comments led to his dismissal by Stewart, who was then running against Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Virginia).
Stewart himself was one of the most radical right-wing GOP candidates in recent memory, having swaddled himself in Confederate symbolism and reupped false claims that ex-President Barack Obama was not a U.S. citizen.
Since his unceremonious expulsion from the Stewart campaign, Fritsch has worked for an array of increasingly fringe figures. His recent clients include Delaware Senate aspirant Lauren Witzker, a former QAnon supporter and self-described “flat-earther;” trans-bashing Michigan House contender Tom Norton; and Big League Politics contributor Pete D’Abrosca, a white nationalist-booster who ultimately failed to make the ballot for a congressional race in North Carolina.
Gosar, an eight-year House veteran, appears to be the only recently successful candidate on Fritsch’s resume—at least on the federal level. A spokesman for the congressman, whose own siblings have denounced him as a racist, declined to respond to questions about why the campaign hired Fritsch given his background, but indicated they intend to keep him on the payroll.
“Noel has provided active and productive fundraising services,” Gosar chief-of-staff Tom Van Flein wrote The Daily Beast. “We will review whether he should get a raise.”
Fritsch hung up twice on The Daily Beast when called about his work for Gosar, after repeatedly refusing to divulge any details about exact services he provided the campaign—and accusing The Daily Beast of conspiring with neoconservative commentator Bill Kristol to produce this article. The Daily Beast, which had no contact with either Kristol or with any of his associates while researching and composing this story, became aware of Fritsch’s work for Gosar while reviewing the congressman’s publicly available campaign finance disclosures.
In a third conversation, which Fritsch initiated, the consultant declined to comment on the record about his history, except to describe Stewart as “awesome.” He subsequently followed up with an email lauding Gosar’s vitriolic rejection of Biden’s 2020 election victory, and repeating debunked claims of an international plot to rig the vote.
“Endorsed by Donald Trump, Paul Gosar—the first Congressman to stand up on January 6th to object to Biden's bogus electors which we're gifted to him in the most fraudulent election in U.S. history—stands alone in Congress in fighting to close the border and against China-first oligarchic interference in U.S. elections and policies,” he said.
O’Neal, Fritsch’s partner at Big League Politics, did not respond to a request for comment. The site has lavished Gosar with positive coverage, referring to him earlier this month as “one of the best congressmen.”