CLC Complaint Alleges Royce White Misused and Misreported Campaign Donors’ Funds

Royce White standing in front of a red and white backdrop speaking and pointing his finger
Royce White speaking at the state GOP convention in St. Paul, Minnesota on May 18, 2024. Photo by IMAGO / ZUMA Press Wire

When donors give candidates money to support their candidacy, candidates have a legal obligation to use those funds only for campaign-related purposes or, if they’re already in office, to support their duties as an elected official. Under federal law, campaign contributions may not be used to pay for personal expenses.  

Moreover, candidates’ campaigns have to file periodic reports that detail all their financial activity — including details about the money that they are receiving from donors and how they are spending it.  

U.S. Senate candidate Royce White appears to have been blatantly violating these basic federal requirements.

White has previously reported using over $157,000 in donor funds for personal use — including spending on strip clubs, resorts, clothing, and more. Now, how his 2024 campaign is spending funds remains unaccounted for — a major, obvious transparency concern.

On June 6, 2024, Campaign Legal Center (CLC) filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) alleging that White misappropriated over $157,000 from his (ultimately unsuccessful) 2022 campaign for Minnesota’s 5th Congressional District, using those funds for personal expenses.

Additionally, the complaint argues that he has failed to report to the FEC how his 2024 Senate campaign is spending its money, depriving voters of critical information they have a right to know when deciding who to cast their vote for.  

Royce White for Senate, his 2024 campaign committee, has reported only one disbursement for just $216.38. However, there is indication that Royce White for Senate has incurred other expenses and made disbursements that it has simply not disclosed.  

For example, White’s campaign has a polished website that appears to have been crafted by a professional vendor, and the website features a disclaimer statement indicating that it is “Paid for by Royce White for Senate.”

White also released a professional-looking campaign announcement video with a disclaimer statement that states the video was “Paid for by Royce White for Senate.”  

Yet White’s campaign has reported no disbursements of any kind related to the creation or maintenance of the website or related to the creation of the campaign announcement video.  

Every campaign has bills to pay, but White’s campaign committee has failed to report those payments, leaving voters in the dark about how the committee is spending donors’ money and undermining the basic transparency necessary for voters to evaluate candidates and make informed decisions.

His 2022 campaign committee, Royce White for Congress, reported disbursing over $157,000 on expenses that either appear, on their face, to be personal in nature, or are completely opaque as far as their purpose.  

Over $100,000 of these expenses were withdrawn from the campaign’s account using checks, wire transfers and cash withdrawals, meaning the public has no idea where that money went and what it was spent on.

In light of what we do know White spent money on — strip clubs, resorts, clothing, and more — it is deeply concerning that these effectively untraceable campaign funds were likely spent however White pleased.  

In addition, White’s 2022 campaign failed to comply with the reporting requirements set forth in the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA) and FEC regulations. Virtually all its reported disbursements list “Royce White for Congress” as the recipient of the payment.

Some of the reported disbursements are completely unclear as to who received the funds and for what, if any, campaign-related purpose the disbursement was made.  

Failure to completely and accurately report disbursements not only undermines voters’ rights, it also undermines compliance with and enforcement of other laws that protect voters and our electoral system, such as FECA’s ban on converting campaign funds to personal use, which is exactly what White appeared to do during his 2022 campaign.  

When candidates like White fly in the face of the law, voters are denied their right to have factual and timely reporting of the money raised and spent on election influence. Not only that, but voters end up having no assurance that candidates are not spending donors’ money to pay for their personal expenses.

The FEC must investigate what appears to be clear violations of federal campaign finance law by Royce White and his 2022 and 2024 campaign committees.


This blog is authored by CLC Legal Intern Ja'Lia Butler.