A 34-year old from Texas is behind two political action committees that raised millions of dollars purporting to help Donald Trump, but which instead funded a life of luxury for the PACs’ operator.
Groups called “Support American Leaders” and “Campaign to Support the President” have made literally billions of robocalls in the last several years. Many play audio clips from former president Trump, which are spliced together from various real statements, and ask listeners to help him. Only at the end do they play a sped-up disclaimer acknowledging that solicitation is actually for a third-party group.
The two organizations have raised $3.4 million — most frequently from retirees — but none of it has gone to Trump’s campaigns, and $738,000 has gone to Matthew Tunstall, who has flaunted the Gucci rings, designer apparel, and other riches funded by impersonating the Trump campaign, CNN reported. It wrote:
Adav Noti, a campaign finance expert at the Campaign Legal Center, told CNN that groups were typical of what’s known as a “scam PAC,” one that “exists primarily to raise money that is then paid to the PAC’s own operators.” In short, it places robocalls to pay for more robocalls.
Even as the groups interrupt countless Americans’ dinners with phone calls, there is no way to contact them: their listed phone numbers are not operational, CNN reported.
The PACs received administrative fines from the Federal Election Commission last year for not reporting their financials on time, but it paid only $5 of the fines.
And hundreds of thousands of dollars are unaccounted for in public filings, CNN said.
Scam PACs harm the politicians whose names they invoke by draining the cash of people who might otherwise give to them.
In February 2020, Scott B. Mackenzie, who operated dozens of scam PACs gobbling up conservative retirees’ money without helping politicians — such as one called Conservative StrikeForce — was sentenced to a year in prison. A prosecutor said scam PACs pose a “very real, menacing threat to our society.”
In 2013, Republican Ken Cuccinelli — who went on to serve in the Trump administration — lost the race for the Virginia governor’s mansion by less than three percent. Cuccinelli might have had the resources needed to put him over the top if Mackenzie’s PAC hadn’t raised $500,000 in his name while only forwarding him $10,000, according to a federal lawsuit.
In 2014, Mackenzie’s business partner Michael Centanni was sentenced to prison for child porn.
In 2011, when this reporter pointed out the group’s track record, it wrapped itself in the banner of conservativism, claiming that anyone who criticized it was a liberal.
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