Shell company made illegal $500K donation to pro-Trump super PAC, watchdog alleges
A watchdog group on Monday alleged that the largest single donation to a super PAC aligned with former President Trump was made illegally.
In a complaint filed with the Federal Election Commission (FEC), the Campaign Legal Center said that an obscure Florida-based company called ML Organization LLC violated federal election law by making a $500,000 donation to Trump-endorsed super PAC Make America Great Again, Again!
The complaint alleged that the donation constitutes an unlawful straw donor scheme designed to conceal the donor’s true identity. Citing public records, the group said that the donation likely came from Bill Pulte, the grandson of the founder of home construction giant PulteGroup, or another unknown person.
“Voters have a right to know when wealthy special interests are spending money to influence elections and rig the political system in their favor,” Saurav Ghosh, director of federal reform at Campaign Legal Center, said in a statement. “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.”
The Campaign Legal Center said that there is no record of ML Organization having any business activity or generating any income since it was incorporated in 2018, an indication that it didn’t have the cash to make the donation without receiving funds for that purpose.
The FEC and Justice Department have taken action against several individuals for taking part in straw donor schemes. In February, the Justice Department indicted three government contractors for allegedly using a shell company to funnel $150,000 to a super PAC supporting Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine).
Make America Great Again, Again! — the only super PAC approved by Trump — is airing ads supporting Trump-backed candidates in the 2022 midterms. As of the most recent FEC filings, the group has raised $14.4 million and has $12.5 million cash on hand.