Republican fundraiser looks to cash in on coronavirus

Fundraiser Mike Gula did not state his new job in the email. In an interview, however, he said he had founded a new company that sells medical devices that were in short supply during the coronavirus pandemic.

Blue Flame Medical LLC was founded in Delaware on Monday according to state records. Coronavirus test kits, N95 respirators, “a wide range” of personal protective equipment and other “hard-to-find medical aids against the outbreak” are sold on its website.

When asked how he managed to get such devices when there were bottlenecks in hospitals across the country, Gula said, “I have relationships with many people.”

Gula launched Blue Flame with John Thomas, a consultant who until recently worked as chief strategist for Don Sedgwick, a Republican who competed against Rep. Katie Porter (D-Calif.) But lost to elementary school earlier this month. Gula’s company raised funds for Sedgwick, according to campaign financial reports.

The sudden move to close Gula’s company has set the republican operations world ablaze, and many in the industry are amazed at Gula’s intentions and how he was able to move so quickly.

Thomas declined to show how he and Gula had managed to get masks that had become so rare that some hospitals reused them or had bandanna health workers or scarves tied around their faces. “It’s just relationship-based,” he said. “I can’t say anything else.”

He also declined to reveal how much money the couple had made, but said that it wasn’t a price cut.

“We are incredibly sensitive to cutting out,” he said.

The new company could get an audit as the Trump administration tried to stop hoarding critical medical devices and selling products at a price above market value. President Donald Trump passed an executive ordinance to combat price cuts on Monday, and Attorney General William Barr told reporters this week that the Department of Justice had set up a task force to prevent people from “manipulating the market and ultimately making profits” .

In an interview, Thomas said Blue Flame had already sold medical care to government agencies in Georgia and other states. Police almost “beg for supplies,” he said.

“I don’t want to exaggerate, but we currently represent the largest global supply chain for Covid-19 deliveries,” he said. “We are preparing to fulfill mask orders with 100 million units.”

Gula is an experienced fundraiser that has raised money for more than two dozen legislators this cycle alone, including Sens.Steve Daines from Montana, Tim Scott from South Carolina, Pat Toomey from Pennsylvania, Ron Johnson from Wisconsin, Martha McSally from Arizona and Kevin Cramer of North Dakota.

His note to the legislators he had worked for was blunt and told them Thursday “would be my last day of work for you”. It arrived shortly before the end of the quarter, in a hectic period typical of fundraisers, which is now quiet as almost all events have been canceled.

“After this email, I will be unavailable,” he wrote. “I wish you the best of luck in politics and life.”

A person who received Gula’s absence email response told POLITICO: “Mike Gula is no longer checking this email account. If you would like to contact Mike, please contact him at his new email address ____ and his new cell_____, and yes, it is empty for a reason. “

Gula said he was not closing his company as quickly as his email to the legislature appeared. “I help them and finish everything they need for this quarter,” he said. “The lights are not off.”

He said he decided to raise funds to sell medical care “because nobody did. Because the President and Vice President asked people for help. “

Gula also has two other companies: Prime Advocacy, which organizes Washington fly-ins for industry groups and others, and AMP, which he founded last month to provide services to PACs.

He said he started Blue Flame in part because he wanted to leave the pressure of political work behind.

“I just want to have a private life,” he said. “I want to get out of politics.”

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