As one of my favorite bands during college – New Jersey’s Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes – used to say, “This Time, It’s For Real.”
The second quarter financial numbers are out and they don’t look good for the Republican candidate for U.S. Senate – Mehmet Oz.
The celebrity doctor has $1,126.263.43 cash on hand after a quarter that saw the campaign raise $3.8 million, including a $2.2 million loan from the candidate.
In comparison, Democratic candidate John Fetterman raised $10 million during the three-month period and has $5.5 million in the bank.
Reports from The Daily Beast, though, indicate that there is “dark money” funneling into the Oz campaign.
Oz’s super PAC – American Leadership Action – has raised more than $4 million, including a donation from its “nonprofit” twin – American Leadership Policy.
Apparently, those names are not a coincidence. Rather, it’s by design.
Groups backing former President Donald Trump have used the same strategy – America First Action super PAC and America First Policies nonprofit; Make America Great Again Action and Make America Great Again Policies nonprofit.
Brett Kappel, campaign finance specialist at Harmon Curran, explained the arrangement.
“The Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision allowed corporations, including nonprofit organizations, to make unlimited contributions to Super PACs, which then could spend those funds on independent expenditures supporting or opposing candidates,” Kappel said.
But where super PACs have to disclose their donor information, nonprofit organizations do not. That gives donors some anonymity — instead of giving to the super PAC, give to a nonprofit that gives to the super PAC.
Oz can’t coordinate with the super PAC on fundraising. But his in-laws, according to the report, are its top donors.
The family has stakes in the multibillion-dollar Asplundh Tree Experts, holding between $11.55 million and $52.1 million, according to Oz’s candidate disclosures – between 10 to 50 percent of Oz’s total net worth.
And the biggest super PAC donor is Oz’s father-in-law, Dr. Gerald LeMole, who has already donated more than $1.5 million, according to campaign filings.