Washington, D.C.—Right to Rise USA, the main super PAC supporting Jeb Bush’s presidential campaign, accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars in illegal donations, constituting multiple law violations, according to a complaint filed today by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW). The complaint, filed with the Federal Election Commission (FEC), names TH Holdings LLC, its apparent owner Marvin C. Schwartz, Heather Oaks, LLC, along with Right to Rise USA and the super PAC’s treasurer Charles Spies, alleging that six figure donations made by the companies to Right to Rise USA were made on behalf of others, a violation of federal law.
TH Holdings, whose only known activity is owning a property in the Hamptons, appears to have no income, meaning that the $100,000 it gave Right to Rise USA had to come from someone else—most likely Mr. Schwartz, who appears to be its owner. Likewise, Heather Oaks does not have any known business activity and was founded just two weeks before giving Right to Rise USA $100,000, making it highly unlikely that it was able to generate enough income to write that large of a check, again implying that its donation came from someone else.
“There is a reason that super PACs are required to disclose their donors,” CREW Executive Director Noah Bookbinder said. “Laundering donations through companies to try to keep donor information secret defeats the purpose of disclosure rules and prevents the public from learning who is trying to influence our elections and our government.”
The Federal Election Campaign Act and FEC regulations prohibit making or knowingly accepting a contribution in the name of another person. If the FEC does not act in this matter, millionaires and billionaires will be given a map to get around crucial reporting laws. Laws have little purpose if they go unenforced.
“Disclosure laws apply to everyone equally,” Bookbinder said. “The super rich should not be able to use hard-to-trace companies to secretly give unlimited money. The FEC needs to take immediate action.”