David McCormick’s Pa. Senate campaign and super PAC fundraiser won’t be disclosed until late

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No campaign team in America is spending more on a single Senate race right now than David McCormick and the super PAC that backs him. But good luck finding out where all that money is coming from.

Because he only entered the race in January, McCormick, a former hedge fund executive seeking the Republican nomination in Pennsylvania, won’t have to publicly disclose anything about his personal finances or who funds campaign until mid-April, about a month before the May 17 Primary.

Likewise, the super PAC that backs him — and slams GOP rival Mehmet Oz on TV — revealed only a fraction of the donations fueling his mammoth spending on the Pennsylvania airwaves. During that week, the group spent $7.7 million on ads, in addition to the $6.5 million in airtime purchased by McCormick’s campaign, according to ad tracking firm AdImpact.

Spending blitzes have reshaped the race, according to public polls, elevating McCormick while damaging Oz.

McCormick and his allies abide by the disclosure law. Even though he was hosting events and airing over $1 million in TV ads showing up in December, he didn’t officially announce his campaign until January 13. This set the April deadlines for his first personal financial disclosures and first campaign finance reports.

If he had launched his campaign before December 31, he would have been required to file public reports sooner. McCormick started his campaign in January so he could meet a request from the board of his hedge fund, Bridgewater Associates, to stay on until 2021, campaign spokesman Jess Szymanski said.

Personal disclosure reports shed light on applicants’ personal financial interests, revealing estimates of their overall wealth, income, investments, and assets. Donation reports reveal which interest groups, powerful donors and grassroots activists might support them, and how much the candidates are spending out of their own pockets. They are intended to help voters understand who might seek to influence each candidate or who supports their views.

READ MORE: Mehmet Oz knows TV. Now his GOP opponents are turning the Pennsylvania airwaves against him.

The super PAC reported a handful of donations, but also won’t file its next report until mid-April.

This means that McCormick and his allies will have had about three months of spending without any thorough examination of the sources of his wealth, his financial interests or the funding poured into his campaign.

Szymanski, McCormick’s spokesman, said his support came from a wide spectrum of Republicans – citing endorsements from figures such as Texas Senator Ted Cruz and former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

“The only special interests Dave will cater to are the people of Pennsylvania,” she said in a statement, while attacking Oz’s personal financial ties.

It’s a similar, but not quite parallel, situation with Oz.

He has spent more than $8 million on television through the end of this week, the most of any individual candidate in the country. He has yet to reveal details of his important personal finances. He entered the race in November, so he had to disclose his first month of campaign donations. A super PAC supporting Oz was overshadowed by one supporting McCormick, leaving Oz spent on television overall.

All of the other leading candidates in the GOP and Democratic Senate primaries filed personal financial disclosures and several rounds of fundraising reports after much earlier campaign launches.

READ MORE: We’re looking for candidates running for Senate in Pennsylvania

Part of what makes the race unusual is how much money has been spent so early in the campaign, thanks to the candidates’ incredible wealth. Typically, such heavy publicity starts later, and there’s less time between the TV wave and the news stories that show who’s funding them. (Top Democratic candidates have only started advertising on TV in recent days, while some Republicans have been on the air since November).

But McCormick, until recently head of Bridgewater Associates, the world’s largest hedge fund, came to the race with his own money and a network of ultra-wealthy supporters tied to him and his wife, Goldman Sachs executive Dina Powell McCormick. It is unclear how much of his campaign spending comes from his own resources and how much was funded by donors.

McCormick’s financial ties have already been questioned due to the hedge fund’s more than $1 billion investment in China last year, as he led the outfit.

Oz, the famed surgeon known as “Dr. Oz,” says he spent $10 million of his own money on the campaign. As for what his immense wealth looks like, he asked for and was granted a extension of his personal disclosure in December, as candidates regularly do, and is now scheduled for April 6.

His campaign declined to comment for this story.

Oz’s first fundraising report, meanwhile, found that about three-quarters of its initial donor support came from people outside of Pennsylvania. And it showed the names of some of the early donors who supported him, including family members of his wife and Trump Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross.

Super PACs like the one that spends big on McCormick can have a Major influence on campaigns because they can accept donations of any size, beyond the $5,800 limit to candidates. Only one of McCormick’s supporters, fellow hedge fund manager Kenneth Griffin, wrote a check for $5 million to the pro-McCormick super PAC, which is much of his first haul.

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