Robert Ritchie, aka Kid Rock, may or may not be running against Debbie Stabenow to represent Michigan in the US Senate. There has been some polling which shows he may be leading or trailing Stabenow. As a brush-back pitch, the liberal political hit squad at Common Cause has filed a “ethics complaint” against Kid Rock and his record label, Warner Brothers.
In a complaint filed today with the Federal Election Commission and Department of Justice, Common Cause accuses Kid Rock of violating federal election laws by acting as a Senate candidate while failing to register his candidacy, comply with contribution restrictions and publicly disclose contributions to his campaign.
Warner Bros. Records, Kid Rock’s label, also is targeted in the complaint; the company is accused of violating federal law and commission regulations by facilitating and acting as a conduit for contributions to the Kid Rock campaign.
“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. This is campaign finance law 101,” said Paul S. Ryan, Common Cause’s vice president for policy and litigation. “Given the activities we’ve documented in the complaint, he can’t reasonably claim to be merely testing the waters of candidacy and thus exempt from candidate filing requirements. He is a candidate and is obligated to abide by all the rules and make the same disclosures required of everyone else running for federal office.”
Is he in violation of the law? It will depend upon how many Democrats in the FEC get to way in on the decision. It would seem that claiming jurisdiction over the message on merchandise has a strong First Amendment component and it is hard to believe that Warner wasn’t well aware of legal issues when they signed on to helping him. If he does actually declare, then they have an issue. Right now Common Cause is claiming that even the production of parody merchandise would trigger campaign finance law. This has the appearances of Common Cause trying to harass Kid Rock into not actually running.
Kid Rock responded to the complaint in his own style:
I am starting to see reports from the misinformed press and the fake news on how I am in violation of breaking campaign law.
#1 I have still not officially announced my candidacy.
#2 See #1 and go f*** [ed note, I used the asterisks, Kid Rock didn’t] yourselves.
Everyone else, Have a great Labor Day (I will be spending mine WORKING in one of the greatest cities in America – Grand Rapids, Michigan!!)
I have serious doubts that Kid Rock is running. The fact that Warner’s legal department is going along with the merchandising leads me to believe that Kid Rock is, in fact, not running. I think this is a publicity stunt to raise his public profile and make a little money in the process. Having said that, I wholeheartedly agree with his suggestion to the goobers at Common Cause. The nation would be much better off if they were forced, at gunpoint if need be, to do what he said.
This is too bad, because we need more people in Congress who are a) not lawyers and b) not professional politicians. The Founding Fathers never contemplated a ruling class of professional office holders. Our first president was a plantation owner who deliberately decided to return to the farm after two terms. Given the choice between being represented by someone who has actually had to work for a living and Debbie Stabenow, I’d find the decision to be a no-brainer. Kid Rock is much more likely to vote commonsense and middle class pocketbook. In fact, it is hard to believe any sane person can look at the Congress–House and Senate–today and say, “gee, we need a lot more of that if we are going to fix our problems.”