Campaign Legal Center Files FEC Complaint Against Shell Company Used to Funnel Money into Alabama Senate Race
The complaint alleges that that Free Market, LLC, served as a “straw donor” for a $250,000 contribution to the super PAC Alabama Conservatives Fund. By making the contribution through Free Market, the donors were able to conceal their true identity.
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Campaign Legal Center (CLC) filed a complaint today with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) alleging that Free Market, LLC, an obscure entity with no apparent income, employees or assets (also known as a shell company) appears to have been used to secretly funnel $250,000 to a super PAC that spent over $1.9 million in the 2022 U.S. Senate race in Alabama.
The complaint alleges that the "straw donor” scheme involving Free Market, LLC violated federal laws that make it illegal for a person or entity to give money to another person or entity for it to make a political contribution in its own name.
The super PAC in question, Alabama Conservatives Fund (ACF), reported receiving a $250,000 contribution from Free Market, LLC on Jan. 27, 2022, just three months after the LLC was organized. Because the LLC had no apparent income, assets or commercial activity, no discernable online or physical presence, and no financial activity from which it could have made this six-figure political contribution, it appears that these funds had to have come from another source.
“Voters have a right to know which wealthy special interests are spending to influence their vote. By passing a quarter of a million dollars through Free Market, LLC, to a super PAC supporting a candidate in the Alabama Senate race, the forces behind this secret spending denied that right to Alabama voters,” said Saurav Ghosh, director of federal reform at Campaign Legal Center. “It is extremely concerning that unknown actors can simply create an LLC and, just two months later, use that company to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to influence our elections and rig the political system to suit their needs – all while keeping their identities completely hidden.”
ACF, which has been exclusively supporting Republican candidate Katie Britt in the Alabama Senate race, appears to have reported the contributor’s name that it was given. However, all publicly available information indicates that Free Market was not the true source of the $250,000 contributed in its name to ACF, but was, in fact, a “straw donor” used to hide the true source of those funds.
The power of wealthy special interest money in our politics threatens our First Amendment right to have our voices heard. The FEC must investigate this LLC and enforce the federal straw donor ban in order to uphold transparency in our elections.
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