Rocker Kid Rock sent $122,000 raised selling merchandise for a fake run for Senate last year to a College Republicans-affiliated organization focused on voter-registration.
The money was raised while Kid Rock, whose real name is Robert Ritchie, was seemingly floating a run to unseat Michigan’s U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow.
Ritchie ultimately didn’t establish a 501(c)(4) or file with the Federal Elections Commission and said on his blog he never really intended to run for the U.S. Senate.
“(Expletive) no, I’m not running for Senate. Are you (expletive) kidding me?” Rock told shock jock Howard Stern on his radio show in October. “Who couldn’t (expletive) figure that out?”
The CRNC Action group the money went to confirmed the money went to them.
But, Ritchie might have a bit of trouble with the FEC over the cash raised during the fake campaign. According to the Detroit News:
The Campaign Legal Center’s Fischer said the FEC could decide that Kid Rock was legally operating as a candidate and raising money for his campaign, ordering him to comply with legal requirements such as disclosing contributions over $200 and how that money was spent.
A more likely outcome would be for the FEC to find technical violations of the law without declaring Kid Rock a candidate — letting the whole thing pass as a matter of prosecutorial discretion, Fischer said.
“As more and more celebrities seriously consider runs for office, you could see scenarios like this arising again, where you have a well-known media personality or a celebrity announce a run for office, meets all the requirements for candidacy but claims it’s all a joke. When in the meantime, they are seriously gauging a run for office,” Fischer said.
“Even in this instance, when Kid Rock has disavowed his run for office, there is a reason to look seriously at these kinds of efforts because there’s obviously a trend for celebrities running for office.”
Celebrities should be forewarned, don’t announce a fake campaign as a publicity stunt. Eventually, it won’t be worth the hassle with legalities.