Herschel Walker builds campaign team with strong financial ties to Marjorie Taylor Greene, Donald Trump • OpenSecrets
Former National Football League star Herschel Walker announced on Tuesday that he would run for the Georgia Senate to overthrow freshman Senator Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.). Walker already has the backing of former President Donald Trump, but his Senate campaign team also has close financial ties to former President and controversial Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.).
Walker’s team has already formed a super PAC called Third Down Georgia, which registered with the Federal Election Commission in May and raised $ 27,102 in the second quarter.
The super PAC is incorporated under the office of the Georgia Secretary of State and lists its registered agent as Jason Boles, the treasurer of Walker’s main campaign committee and a designated agent and record keeper of Greene’s main campaign committee. Boles is also the treasurer and record keeper of Greene’s Joint Fundraising Committee.
Greene, a Georgia representative for the first term, a staunch ally of Trump and supporter of the far-right QAnon conspiracy theory, was stripped of her committee post in February after several anti-Semitic comments she made, as well that speeches in which she encouraged violence against elected Democrats, has become public.
The Conservative MP has also promoted other 9/11 conspiracy theories and the school shooting in Parkland, Fla. She propagated Trump’s claims that the 2020 presidential election was stolen and likened the mask warrants to the Holocaust.
Greene capitalized on the controversy. She raised $ 4.7 million ahead of the 2022 election cycle – including $ 3.2 million in the first quarter of 2021 following the Jan.6 riot on Capitol Hill. And a lot of Greene’s fundraising came from small donors. In the first quarter of 2021, $ 2.6 million of Greene’s total contributions came from donors who gave $ 200 or less. In the second quarter of the year, Greene raised about $ 1.6 million, of which $ 967,045 came from small donors.
Boles is also the treasurer of Stop Socialism NOW, a super PAC that has spent tens of thousands of dollars in independent spending to support the two Republican candidates for the 2020 Senate election in Georgia, former Senators Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue.
The super PAC was involved in a complaint filed against Greene with the Federal Election Commission in May. The nonprofit Common Cause watchdog has alleged that Greene’s appearance in a Stop Socialism NOW video ad was an illegal solicitation of soft money donations to the super PAC.
Federal law states that applicants cannot solicit donations greater than $ 5,000 on behalf of super PAC, and Common Cause argued that its performance in the ad was an “implied” solicitation of funds.
Boles’ political ties to conservative actors extend far beyond Greene. North Carolina Policy Watch reported that Boles is involved in 57 different political organizations and businesses across Georgia, and may have helped fund a right-wing infiltration of progressive political groups in North Carolina.
Organizations Boles is linked to include casino gaming advocacy groups and various Republican State and PAC campaign committees.
Another designated agent listed on Walker’s campaign brief is Stefan Passantino, a former deputy legal adviser to Trump in the White House who oversaw ethical compliance issues.
When Passantino stepped down in 2018, he co-founded Elections LLC., A company that received $ 1.1 million from various Republican political organizations, according to spending data compiled by OpenSecrets.
Trump’s 2020 re-election committee donated most of that money. Between April 2019 and December 2020, the committee paid Elections LLC. a total of $ 700,369 on 22 installments for legal advice.
The last three payments, which totaled more than $ 140,000 between November 12 and December 7, 2020, were made for legal advice on Trump’s election recount efforts. Passantino was a lawyer registered in a Trump campaign lawsuit that claimed election workers in Chatham County, Georgia, mishandled 53 mail-in ballots. The lawsuit was then dismissed by a judge.
Passantino and Elections LLC. was also hired by Greene’s campaign, OpenSecrets previously reported. Greene’s campaign committee paid the company $ 93,564 in 20 installments, the last two of which were in January of this year.
Warnock’s campaign is well prepared financially for a race that could determine which party controls the Senate in the second half of President Joe Biden’s term. So far, it has garnered the most applicants among the 2022 midterm candidates, making $ 32.1 million at the end of the second quarter.
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