Ethics Watchdog: Kid Rock is Already Breaking Campaign Law

Common Cause group also alleges artist has violated campaign contribution rules

September 1, 2017 2:59 pm
Kid Rock
Kid Rock presents an award onstage at the 2017 CMT Music Awards at the Music City Center on June 7, 2017 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Kevin Mazur/WireImage)

The ethics watchdog group Common Cause filed a complaint Friday with the Federal Election Commission and the U.S. Department of Justice claiming that Robert Ritchie, a.k.a. Kid Rock, has violated federal election law all summer. The group says that while he acted like a Senate candidate, he failed to register his candidacy or comply with rules on campaign contributions.

Common Cause also targeted the label Warner Bros., writes the Detroit NewsThe group says it is breaking the law and acting as a conduit for contributions to Ritchie’s Republican campaign. By law, corporations are prohibited from acting as conduits for contributions to federal candidates.

In a statement, Paul S. Ryan, Common Cause’s vice president for policy and litigation, said: “Regardless of whether Kid Rock says he’s only exploring candidacy, he’s selling ‘Kid Rock for Senate’ merchandise and is a candidate under the law.”

Not everyone believes that Ritchie’s campaign is real, and skeptics call it a marketing ploy. However, Kid Rock did say on his blog in late July that he is very possibly considering a Senate challenge to three-term Democratic Sen. Debbie Stabenow of Lansing.

Ritchie, a resident of Clarkston, also has a campaign website, where he links to a page selling campaign shirts, hats, yard signs, and stickers that say, “Kid Rock for Senate.” And he has a Twitter handle @KidRockSenator, where he promotes this merchandise.

Ryan says that Ritchie cannot reasonably claim to be “merely exploring” a run. Therefore, he cannot be exempt from federal filing requirements.

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