Tyler Harber, a 34-year-old GOP campaign operative in the D.C. area who coordinated $325,000 in spending between a super PAC and a Virginia congressional campaign in 2012, became the first person ever convicted of illegal campaign-finance coordination when he pleaded guilty on Feb. 12.
That’s a milestone in campaign finance law, for sure, but it’s worth noting Harber’s connection in the Pine Tree State, specifically to Bruce Poliquin, now the representative from Maine’s 2nd Congressional District.
- He worked on Poliquin’s failed bid to win his party’s nomination for Senate in 2012. Media reports at the time cite Harber as Poliquin’s “campaign manager.”
- In 2010, Poliquin’s gubernatorial primary campaign paid the D.C. based consulting firm Wilson Research Strategies Inc. more than $64,000 consulting, polling and other services, according to campaign finance reports filed in Maine. At that time, Harber was the vice president and director of the political division for WRS, according to a 2010 profile of Harber by Campaigns and Elections, which named him a “rising star” that same year. (C&E has revoked Harber’s award in the wake of his guilty plea for illegal coordination).
- As recently as January 2013, Harber presented himself to a Roll Call reporter as someone close to Poliquin, telling the Capitol Hill newspaper that Poliquin would consider a bid for Congress in 2014 which, of course, he did.
A quick look through Poliquin’s 2014 campaign finance reports indicates that neither Harber nor WRS — now known as Wilson Perkins Allen Opinion Research — were involved in his successful congressional campaign.
An official from Poliquin’s 2014 campaign, who asked not to be named for this story, said that despite Harber’s claim of insight in 2013, he was not associated in any way with the congressman’s campaign for the U.S. House last year.
“We’ve had zero phone conversations, zero meetings or emails” with Harber during the campaign or since, the official said.