FEC Complaint from Campaign Legal Center Alleges Obscure LLC Was Used in “Straw Donor” Scheme Supporting Pro-Francis Suarez Super PAC
Washington, D.C. — Today, Campaign Legal Center (CLC) filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) against “PassionForest, LLC,” and any unknown person(s) that made a $500,000 contribution to SOS America PAC, a super PAC that has already spent over three million dollars backing Miami Mayor Francis Suarez’s presidential candidacy.
The complaint alleges that PassionForest — an obscure company that appears to sell artificial flowers online — was not the true source of a $500,000 contribution made in its name to SOS America in October 2022. This scheme not only violates the “straw donor” ban in the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA) but may have also been used to conceal contributions from foreign nationals – which are illegal across all levels of government. Concealing the true source of money used to influence elections, as appears to have occurred here, deprives voters of information they need to make an informed choice at the ballot box.
“Voters have a right to know who is spending money to influence their votes and our government,” said Saurav Ghosh, director of federal campaign finance reform at Campaign Legal Center. “When someone uses an entity like PassionForest, LLC to make a major political contribution to a super PAC while hiding their identity from voters, it’s a serious violation of the laws meant to ensure transparency and prevent corruption in our elections.”
Publicly available information suggests that PassionForest’s artificial flower business had largely shuttered within eleven months and that the LLC therefore could not have made a $500,000 contribution without money being provided to it for that purpose. Moreover, records suggest that the true donor, who provided the LLC with funds to make the contribution, may be a foreign national: while the LLC was registered in Delaware and disclosed an address in Florida to SOS America, an associated trademark application was filed on behalf of an applicant reportedly living in China, and PassionForest maintained an Amazon.com seller page linked to another address in China.
Straw donor schemes involve serious violations of federal campaign finance law that have led to penalties and indictments in recent years. The FEC must not delay in looking into this matter and enforcing federal campaign finance law so that transparency in our elections will be protected.