Campaign Legal Center Alleges “SHBT, LLC” Was a Straw Donor to Pro-Christie Super PAC

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Campaign Legal Center (CLC) filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) against “SHBT, LLC” and any unknown person(s) that made a $1 million contribution to the super PAC Tell It Like It Is PAC (“Tell PAC”), which is supporting former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s 2024 presidential candidacy.  

The complaint alleges that SHBT—organized in Texas in June 2022 as a domestic limited liability company—was used to conceal the true sources of a $1 million contribution made in its name to Tell PAC on June 30, 2023. This contribution, which is the single largest contribution Tell PAC has received to date, represents about 17 percent of the $5.88 million raised by this super PAC.  

The Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA) prohibits “straw donor” contributions, which mislead the public about the true sources of election spending and deprive voters of accurate information regarding who is spending money to influence their votes.  

“Straw donor schemes like SHBT, LLC undermine transparency in our elections and risk undermining voter confidence in our political system,” said Saurav Ghosh, director of federal campaign finance reform at Campaign Legal Center. “Voters have a right to know who is spending money to influence elections, and this transparency is particularly crucial at a time when super PACs routinely spend millions of dollars on elections — often paid for with contributions from a small number of wealthy individuals and special interests.” 

Publicly available information indicates that SHBT, LLC could not have made a $1 million political contribution without money being provided to it for that specific purpose. The LLC appears to have been used solely to purchase and hold a small portfolio of undeveloped real estate, with a collective total value of just $7,002.  

There is no evidence that SHBT, LLC sold any of these properties or engaged in any other income-generating activity, and even if the LLC had sold the properties, their collective value of $7,002 would have been nowhere near enough for the LLC to make a seven-figure political contribution. Therefore, it is virtually impossible that SHBT, LLC was the true source of the million-dollar contribution made in its name to Tell PAC. 

Secret election spending funneled through straw donors is a serious violation of the federal campaign finance laws. The integrity of our electoral process depends on transparent public disclosure of who is spending money on elections. In recent years, violations of these laws have led to both civil fines and criminal indictments. The FEC must not delay in doing its job by fully investigating this matter and enforcing the federal laws prohibiting straw donor schemes.