To understand what GOP U.S. Rep. Jason Lewis and precious metals company Midas Resources could possibly have to do with one another, it’s necessary to understand the radio company he and his show joined in 2011: Genesis Communications Network.
Genesis, a Burnsville-based, independently owned talk radio network, was created in 1997 “as a way to fill the vast media void with hard hitting programming highlighting the most detrimental events and topics to the public at the present time,” according to its website. (Its founder, Ted Anderson, didn’t respond to interview requests; nor did Lewis.)
Genesis doesn’t make its money the by charging syndication fees to radio stations, the way most networks do. Instead, Anderson offers his content for free, and in exchange, he reserves the right to sell national advertising on Genesis’ programs. Among them was Lewis’ show, and by far the network’s biggest star: conspiracy theorist Alex Jones.
Which brings us to Anderson’s other commercial enterprise. He also runs Midas Resources, which he'd founded just a few years before Genesis. He would often appear on Genesis’ programs -- including The Alex Jones Show -- to promote buying gold as a surefire investment in a shaky, unpredictable economy, and announce special Midas deals for Jones’ listeners.
It’s a well-worn strategy. The conventional wisdom on the subject is that investing in gold is generally a surefire hit with conservative talk radio audiences -- your Ron Swanson types who tend to be suspicious of less-certain investments, like the stock market and real estate. Anderson’s competitor at the time, the Republic Broadcasting Network, also ran a precious metal business.
As detailed this week by Media Matters, in the three years he was with Genesis, Lewis did his part selling Midas’ products. In 2011, he told listeners that “every portfolio needs a hedge for inflation,” and that “gold has been the classic.”
“Washington is not going to get us out of this recovery, so you’ve got to protect yourself,” he said. He told listeners to call Midas Resources “today.”
He also teamed up with Midas to sell his 2011 book, offering it “FREE” with the purchase of a silver dollar from the precious metal company.
In 2013, Lewis cast aspersions on the idea that Washington “can spend or inflate its way out of a downturn. Call Midas today, the now-Congressman told his listeners, and tell them Jason Lewis sent you.
In the summer of 2014, Lewis quit his show during the middle of a Thursday evening program, tweeting that he’d “left the radio biz for something better.” Two years later, he won the seat left by the retirement of GOP U.S. Rep. John Kline.
Lewis' old radio boss belieived in this new career turn: Genesis CEO Ted Anderson backed his congressional campaign to the tune of $5,300.
One wonders if Lewis still would've been marketing Midas products circa 2015, when the Minnesota Department of Commerce slapped the company with a Stipulation and Consent Order saying Midas and Anderson “engaged in acts and practices that demonstrate they are incompetent, financially irresponsible, and otherwise unqualified” to sell gold, and that they’d “regularly misappropriated money received in the course of buying, selling, soliciting, or marketing bullion coins or investments in bullion coins.”
Midas “routinely” failed to get customers their gold in a reasonable amount of time, the order continued, and misrepresented the terms of sale and delivery. The company’s bullion registration was suspended, and today it remains inactive.
Midas is still around, though like Lewis himself, it has rebranded. Its website now sells “supplements” providing “the highest quality essential nutrients that your body needs for optimal health,” and grass-fed beef.
And like Lewis, Midas will stay in business as long as people are willing to buy what they’re selling.