High score for ‘Super-PAC Man’

High score for ‘Super-PAC Man’
© Screenshot/YouCaring.com

A new batch of filings with the Federal Election Commission brings the so-called Super-PAC Man’s total to 752.

That’s how many political action committees Josue Larose — who also goes by Josh or Joshua — has registered with the federal government during this election cycle, according to the Federal Election Commission’s (FEC) website. 

During the first days of 2016, Larose was busy filling out FEC paperwork for hundreds of new political action committees, according to federal records, with names including the World Princesses Association and the World’s Hedge Fund Managers Association. 

There have been 991 super-PACs created in the 2016 election cycle, according to the database. It says 596 have been created by Larose.

Between the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, he had amassed upwards of 350.

“He’s certainly a potential problem, and he’s abusing the system for his own personal enjoyment,” said Fred Wertheimer, the president of campaign finance reform group Democracy 21.

“What this guy needs is a real hobby,” he said, pausing briefly, “like fishing or going to wrestling matches, so that he stops wasting people’s time.”

Larose has been forming the PACs en masse since the 2010 midterm elections, which has led some to dub him the “Super-PAC Man.”

Historically, the ventures have yet to raise or spend any money, though the sheer volume makes them hard to track, because they must be looked up individually.

Many campaign finance experts wonder what Larose’s motivation is — if he isn’t in it for the money. 

He did not answer a request from The Hill for comment and has not responded to many other publications in recent years, but Larose told the Florida Sun-Sentinel in 2009 that he creates the groups “to give everybody a voice.”

Many of Larose’s super-PACs are variations on real entities — such as “chambers of commerce” for some states — in addition to American interests abroad. One super-PAC formed last month is called the International Organization Against Kidnapping. Another is called the American National Professional Boxing League. 

Others are alleged “government relations bureaus” for U.S. states, foreign governments and tribal governments and are registered as a “lobbyist/registrant PAC.”

The paperwork for each of the hundreds of new committees lists unitedstatespoliticalactioncommitteesdirectory.com as the website, which says it represents “the 1,000 Biggest Political Action Committees that are legally registered with the Federal Election Commission in Washington DC.”

The FEC can administratively terminate PACs if they fail to have any kind of financial activity — and Larose has had dozens shut down for inactivity — but there is nothing illegal about registering a large number of fundraising accounts.

“If he just creates these things — the question is, what harm does it cause?” said Joseph Sandler, a partner at Sandler Reiff Lamb Rosenstein & Birkenstock who focuses on campaign finance and political law. “Nobody’s giving to them, so it’s not diverting money from similar sounding PACs.”

One of Larose’s groups, the French Chamber of Commerce of America, has set up fundraising pages purporting to support victims of the terrorist attack in Paris that killed 130 people and injured 368. 

Donations can also be mailed to the organization, one of the pages says, listing a P.O. Box in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., linked to Larose. The YouCaring page appears to have raised $0 of its $15 million goal. The other page — an EventBrite website — is no longer available, though it still shows up in a Google search.

The real U.S.-French business group is the French-American Chamber of Commerce, which has locations in cities including Atlanta, Washington and New York City.

In May, Larose filed paperwork to run for 2016 GOP White House contender Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioGOP Senate candidates trade barbs in brutal Indiana primary Students gather outside White House after walkout to protest gun violence Overnight Energy: Senate confirms Bridenstine as NASA chief | Watchdog probes Pruitt’s use of security detail | Emails shine light on EPA science policy changes MORE’s open Senate seat.

He ran for Florida’s other Senate seat in 2012 and has also run as a write-in candidate for a seat in the House — receiving zero votes — and for Florida’s governor as a write-in candidate, a race in which he received 121 votes.

State and federal regulators know Larose well, and he owes the Florida Elections Commission more than $513,000 for election violations, the body ruled earlier this year.

The six-figure sum is still a fraction of the more than $2 million he would have owed if he had received the maximum penalty on the 2,052 individual counts.