May 02, 2022
A watchdog group filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission on Monday accusing "mystery donors"--one of which may be millionaire businessman Bill Pulte--of using a Delaware limited liability company to funnel $500,000 into former President Donald Trump's super PAC, a violation of campaign finance laws prohibiting so-called straw donors.
The Campaign Legal Center's (CLC) complaint specifically alleges that "Pulte and/or unknown other persons" used ML Organization, LLC as a shell company to pour money into the Make America Great Again, Again! super PAC without having to disclose their identities.
"The facts indicate that this LLC is a straw donor and not the true source of this $500,000 contribution, an illegal tactic."
"There is no record of ML Organization having any activities or generating any income since it was registered as a Delaware domestic limited liability company... in April 2018," the complaint states. "ML Organization has no website, social media account, business listings or online records, or any other discernible online presence."
CLC goes on to note that ML Organization "disclosed an address in Boca Raton, Florida (located within Palm Beach County), in connection with the $500,000 contribution made in its name, but searches of public records databases indicate that the LLC does not appear to own any property in Palm Beach County, Florida, or elsewhere."
Citing public records, CLC points out that Pulte "owns the property at the address listed for ML Organization on FEC reports" and that the property "appears to be Pulte's home."
"The available information supports the conclusion that ML Organization did not have the means to contribute $500,000 to an [independent-expenditure only political committee] absent an infusion of funds provided to it for that specific purpose," the complaint reads. "Accordingly, there is reason to believe that one or more unknown person(s) (William Pulte and/or other persons) violated the prohibition on making contributions in the name of another."
Saurav Ghosh, CLC's director of federal reform, said in a statement that "voters have a right to know when wealthy special interests are spending money to influence elections and rig the political system in their favor."
"Shell companies like ML Organization, LLC are often used to funnel secret money to super PACs, concealing the true contributor's identity," Ghosh continued. "The facts indicate that this LLC is a straw donor and not the true source of this $500,000 contribution, an illegal tactic that erodes transparency."
\u201cOne of the Trump super PAC's top donors is "ML Organization LLC," which gave $500K...and may not exist? \n\nThere is an "ML Organization LLC" in DE, but no entity by that name in FL. \n\nHowever, the address on the FEC report is associated with "Twitter Philanthropist" Bill @pulte.\u201d— Brendan Fischer (@Brendan Fischer) 1643664216
Make America Great Again, Again!--which has billed itself as the "only Trump-approved super PAC"--was formed by Trump allies in 2021 for the stated purpose of supporting "Trump-endorsed candidates across the country who have proven to be fighters of the MAGA movement."
Led by former Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, the super PAC brought in more than $4.3 million in donations in the final quarter of last year and had $9.5 million on hand to start 2022.
The super PAC reported receiving a $500,000 donation from ML Organization on November 1, 2021. ML Organization and the Texas-based firm Tranquil Path Investments, LTD were the super PAC's largest donors in the last three months of 2021.
In a Twitter post on Monday, Ghosh implored the FEC to "take action to enforce the federal straw donor ban and protect voters' right to know when wealthy special interests are spending money to influence elections and rig the political system in their favor!"
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