ProPublica

Journalism in the Public Interest

Cancel

Super PAC Man Gobbles Up Regulators’ Time, Patience

A Florida man has flooded the FEC with filings for a new kind of political action committee, showing how easy it is to create them and how few rules there are. 

.

Citizens United President David Bossie, right, meets with reporters outside the Supreme Court on Jan. 21, 2010, after the Supreme Court ruled on a campaign finance reform case. Since then, Florida resident Josue Larose has formed 60 Super PACs. (Lauren Victoria Burke/AP Photo)

In the peculiar post-Citizens United world of political money, Josue Larose has assumed a new alter-ego: Super PAC man.

Since the Supreme Court ruling paved the way for groups to raise and spend unlimited amounts of money on behalf of candidates, 240 so-called Super PACs have registered with the Federal Election Commission. Larose -- purported millionaire, alleged economist and general man of mystery -- has formed 60 of them, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonpartisan research group that tracks money in politics.

Among Larose's creations, all registered as Super PACs last month: the Bloomingdale's Department Store Customers Super PAC, the NFL Sport Players Super PAC, the United Nations Diplomats Super PAC, the Yale University Graduates Super PAC, the IRS Employees Super PAC, and the Costco Store Customers Super PAC.

His intentions in manufacturing these committees are unclear. The 30-year-old from Deerfield Beach, Fla., doesn't appear to have raised or spent a single dollar for his federal political committees, at least in the past three years. Larose, who's also won some attention for his Super PACs from the Sunlight Foundation, didn't respond to calls or emails from ProPublica.

But his actions show how easy it is to form Super PACs, which, unlike conventional PACs, can raise unlimited amounts of money from individuals and corporations and make unlimited expenditures on behalf of candidates, as long as they don't donate to candidates directly and don't coordinate with candidates or political parties. Larose's moves also highlight the lack of rules governing Super PACs. The FEC has issued general guidance on how to form a Super PAC, but the six commissioners have so far done little to restrict what a Super PAC can do.

Larose "shows how absurd Super PACs are," said Fred Wertheimer, president of Democracy 21, a campaign-finance watchdog group, adding that Super PACs could eviscerate contribution limits that have existed for decades. "This guy looks like he's just playing games, but he's playing games in a very dangerous world."

Since the Citizens United ruling in January 2010, Super PACs, with their turbocharged fundraising and spending, have outpaced old-fashioned PACs, which can accept annual donations only of $5,000 or less and give a maximum of $5,000 per election to candidates and $15,000 to political parties.

Larose isn't the only one to take advantage. Possibly to make a point about the new system, comedian Stephen Colbert formed his own Super PAC, Americans for a Better Tomorrow, Tomorrow, Inc. Then there's the Brady Bunch PAC, a Super PAC formed Sept. 30 out of a UPS mailbox in Brooklyn. Hard to say what it will champion, except maybe the same 3-3 division that has befuddled FEC commissioners in recent years.

Larose started popping out traditional PACs about three years ago, creating a total of 64. Back then, they had names like United States Multi-Millionaires Federal PAC, United States Episcopalians Federal PAC, United States Intellectual Elites Federal PAC, United States Bourgeouis Federal PAC, and United States Lawyers Federal PAC. Larose filed all the right paperwork and kept up (mostly) with quarterly reports, always reporting that he raised and spent no money. The FEC occasionally sent letters asking him for more information about a particular group. Typically, Larose responded by changing the PAC's name.

Each of Larose's PACs has morphed several times. The United States Civil Engineers Federal PAC became the Federal PAC of the Gubernatorial Candidate Josue Larose, which became the United States Presidential Dinners Fund Committee, which became the White House Employees Federal PAC, which became the Obama Biden 2012 Presidential Reelection Fund Committee. After the FEC sent a letter on Oct. 19 asking for more information about the use of Biden's and Obama's names, Larose changed the committee's name to the Bank of America Customers Super PAC.

On Oct. 25, he also sent letters to the FEC, informing the agency that henceforth, 60 of his federal PACs would operate as Super PACs, raising and spending unlimited funds.

All of this is legal, if time-consuming. "There's a lot of nuisance, a lot of noise in here that's completely allowed as far as the FEC is concerned," said Sheila Krumholz, the Center for Responsive Politics' executive director. "I think it would only rise to the level of concern if there was fundraising going on."

The FEC has apparently had a hard time keeping up with Larose's machinations. It gives the wrong names for several of his committees on its official Super PAC registry, listing his United States Congressmen Super PAC, for example, under its old name, Dick Cheney for a Better America Super PAC.

So who is Josue Larose? One website says he's the president of the American National Chamber of Commerce, an organization that doesn't appear to exist. He's listed himself as both a Democrat and a Republican at various points. He's claimed to be a millionaire and to operate the website www.usbiggestpoliticalactioncommittees.com, which doesn't exist. He appears to be running for the U.S. Senate in 2012, and he's already run for office twice, seeking a Florida senate seat in 2009 and the governor's office last year as a write-in candidate. He didn't make much headway, garnering just seven votes for senate and 121 for governor.

In the past three years, Larose has also formed more than 340 Florida PACs -- including Billionaire Josue Larose's Dating Women Committee—and 41 new Florida political parties, one of which, the American Bourgeoisie Political Party, was supposed to buy party leaders limousines. More than 300 of the PACs and all the political parties have either been revoked or voluntarily dissolved, according to the Florida Division of Elections. Also, in response to Larose's efforts, Florida instituted a law preventing someone from being the chair of more than one political party at the same time.

Larose has offered few hints about his agenda. In 2009, he told the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, "I want to give everybody a voice." Since then, though, he has remained silent. When the Sunshine State News tried to do a story on Larose in August 2010, a man identifying himself as Larose's spokesman sent an email warning the reporter to "forget Josue Larose in your head."

For election officials, that's proving to be almost impossible.

Jose Larose's PACs include:

I think I can speculate on his agenda with at least some minor historical authority.  The last time I saw a field where someone (or multiple someones) was “buying up” organizational names was Internet domain names, which drew “squatters” hoping to register a popular brand name before the company who owned it, forcing the company to buy it.

Given that most of these sound like organizations that might be useful in the future, I’d guess that he’s hoping for the same thing, a bunch of Yale graduates looking to influence politics using a similar name so he can take them to court and get a decent settlement.

Otherwise, I approve of this abuse of a horrible, horrible system.  I do hope that the Committees each donate to each other in untraceable ways, just to make the point.

It is like reading a science fiction book nightmare come true.  we are only seeing the beginning of this nightmare.
Without funding the goverment can’t even begin to obtain enough money to protect the average citizen..
Ask yourself, why even give??? You wil now be so outdone by a source that doesn’t actually even exist. to heck with the past laws, it will now become a war of real or unreal corps, or organizations .
We as citizens have only ourselves to blame
I want to add so much more…but with the general thought patterns in this country, what is the point!

Is the headline “Super PAC Man Gobbles Up Regulators’ Time, Patience” appropriate given that “the six commissioners have so far done little to restrict what a Super PAC can do”????

While I have much sympathy for those overworked and often underpaid government workers whom the right likes to call “inefficient bureaucrats” who should be “privatized” (thereby replacing public - and so controllable - income and corporate taxes with the private - and so uncontrollable - tax called “profit”), I have no sympathy for those who demonstrate that they are indeed bureaucrats by self-defining their job as the wielding of a rubber stamp.

Regardless of the Whys, it is so obvious that any Federal Agency of the Government can’t and doesn’t do its job at all. The people or individuals are way much smarter than any Gov’t.Agency.  And certainly caters to a person with money and clout and not to a person without that.  It is mostly dishonest candidates that just don’t care how money is raised for them and thus manipulates the Media and the American People.

Barry Schmittou

Nov. 18, 2011, 3:45 p.m.

Hey John,

Was it you who wrote that you saw the term inconclusive by design?

Do you remember what that was in reference too ?

The lack of Super Pac regulations seems to be similar to that.

I think we can add does not uphold the laws or their duties by design when it comes to government agencies. They seem to do exactly the opposite af what their fiduciary duties and government regulations require them to do.

Citizens United seems to be one of the top frauds yet, amongst hundreds or thousands of government created and/or enabled organized crimes.

@Barry Schmittou:  Citizens United seems to be one of the top frauds yet, amongst hundreds or thousands of government created and/or enabled organized crimes.

That is a misstatement; Citizens United is a crime inflicted upon the American people and the Constitution by an extra-governmental faction of the American right known as “conservatives” through their proxies on the Supreme Court.

Government - any and all forms of government - is not inherently evil.  But a government that falls into the control of evil human beings becomes evil.  Like all tools, government is a reflection of the desires of those who wield it; what has gone wrong in the democracy that is known as America is the majority are no longer those who wield the tool that is government.

I really should have said “But a government that falls into the control of evil human can be used for evil purposes.” rather than suggesting that government (which is merely a concept like “money” in that it is just another creation of the human imagination) can itself become evil.

To argue that “government” is evil is to counter the argument that “Guns don’t commit crimes; people commit crimes!”.

(Which I like to point out as I think the resultant mental struggle to “have their cake and eat it, too” causes some of the hardcore righties to stroke out - and so removes them from the playing board.)

ibSteve2u,

To say that a government can be evil is akin to saying a corporation has a character.  Which I can certainly agree with, along with the concept of “evil governments”, (what else should we call repressive regimes?).

Thanksforyoupost,

Bob Walker

Article:  “So who is Josue Larose? One website says he’s the president of the American National Chamber of Commerce [10], an organization that doesn’t appear to exist. He’s listed himself as both a Democrat and a Republican at various points. He’s claimed to be a millionaire and to operate the website http://www.usbiggestpoliticalactioncommittees.com [11], which doesn’t exist.”

Who is he really?  A grifter spawned by Citizens United.  Way to go Justice Antonin Scalia.  When Mark Twain said judges were law students who get to grade their own papers he had someone like you in mind.  One more like you and we can officially close the door and turn out the lights.

I see an entirely different possibility here. Since it is so easy to form a super PAC, someone could form, say, the 99%ers Who Want Millionaires to Pay Higher Taxes Super PAC. If all those 99%ers out there contributed $1 each, the PAC would have $300 million. That might be enough to actually catch the attention of our bought and paid for politicians.

Or, how about these Super PACs:

99%ers Who Want $Billion-Profit-Companies to Pay Higher Taxes Super PAC
99%ers Who Want Income Taxes To Be More Progressive Super PAC
99%ers Who Want Wages over $100,000 Subject to Social Security and Disability Insurance Taxes Just Like Hospital Insurance Taxes Super PAC
99%ers Who Want to Double the Hospital Insurance Tax Super PAC
99%ers Who Want to Cut the Department of Defense Budgets Super PAC
99%ers Who Want ...

I think suprem court rulings on Super Pac, committee etc. with evaporating monetary funds, loans, opportunities etc. matters are less significant than focasing into expansion of our global role for earning fortune for our North-America.Two Koreas now want to be united! Wow! They are becoming smarter to realize that it’s time for “Border Lifting” before witnessing other pieces of lands like ‘Bangladesh and India’ etc. are becoming united again.
It’s also right time to start thinking about new global laws are to be made and passed. For examples:
*Production and distribution of weapons (gun) of all kinds for ordinary public use is absolutely banned for eliminating crimes against humanity in every corner of this earth (e.g. Uncontrollable forever, the billion dollar narcotic and weapon businesses operated by drug cartels in South-America).
* Internationally legalization of unrestricted like vegetables: drug production and distribution; so that, wise good global citizens will hate to touch this vegetable and it will become a business without demand (same will be oil business situation as there is endless yet to be discovered energy reserves world wide). Note: In Holland, drug business is somewhat legalized but there is almost no crimes caused by the drug users. Crimes against humanity are being committed by the motivation of wealth-greedy thugs in control of political power over a period of more than a half century.
* All the countries of the world will independently operate their financial matters but as if they are municipalities of a globally united one country of one world.
* New deficit-free of totally balanced trades will mean: e.g. Germany will be able to export its fine Beer, chemical etc. products to Canada or India, Bangladesh etc. as much as it imports Timbers, plane parts etc. from Canada or Sea-salt, clothing etc. products from India, Bangladesh etc..
*Unproductive pieces of lands will continue be expanded enough to form a larger global municipality to be able to financially participate in the new United Nation financial programs; which will mean, without regular contribution, no more expectation of receiving free aids from UN power will be entertained.
Let’s start with gaddafi’s son (Saif, even he have no money in his pocket now) and then many too rich sons and daughters of rulers and leaders, whose only so thought qualification is obtained by hereditary transfer of ruler-ship, are to be followed by the demand of collective global public.
Well, I hope to see the Omni-powerful CC and ICC (@50%) would make it happen for him facing a fair trial instead of getting killed by bullying thugs in the control of gun power in Libya. New universally applicable laws can only make sure that the natural resources in the world, like Canada, Libya, USA, Venezuela, Saudi-Arabia’s etc. are monetarily non-profiting but for the use of global public or eternal mankind and a new UN power under a selfless good leadership like “not greedy’: Obama can guarantee changes in and /or implementations of new global laws.
Readers Please note: I could not post this on Swedish: the Local until I posted it to a US news paper, because my internet connection or loptop usage was being manipulated and diabled by an elusive party when I tried to add a few more words about providing some wealth and feeding the idle, out of dated ruler-ships of hereditary style kings habituated in luxurious life styles.

BE THE FIRST ON YOUR BLOCK TO START YOUR VERY OWN SUPER PAC!  Tired of relatives, friends, and business associates snooping into your political contributions?  Want to trash your enemies and competitors while remaining completely anonymous?  Everyone can own their very own Super Pac.  It’s easy to start, easy to use and great fun for the whole family.  If you thought fantasy football was fun, you’ll lov Super Pac.  Choose the political candidate you and your family despise and simply funnel money into this secret political fund, then sit down with your family and watch as they are systematically disparaged through lies half truths innuendo and falsehoods.  Great fun, and your friends and neighbors will never know that you helped destroyed a candidate!

Wasn’t me, Barry, and I unfortunately forget who it was.  I’ll be digging into it this week, though, for what that’s worth.

You know, it occurs to me (and thank to Colin for driving the point home) that flooding the offices with paperwork to create your own Super-PACs might serve the purpose of slowing down the approval of “real” institutions.

That sort of micro-sabotage could be just what the system needs to bring it grinding to a halt.

The acts of liars -blind with religious dogmas (Okaying killing, betraying, official lies etc.) and the manipulation of elusive Croc. will no longer remain secret and protected by dishonestly and purposely made laws. Without human cruelty or bloodshed a change sooner or later is better. The West in its best honest new form with a new set of foreign policies, un-biased attitude and a ‘win win game agenda’ will begin to win the trust of the evolved global public again soon an positive change the world this time around.

The acts of liars -blind with religious dogmas (Okay killing, betraying, official lies etc.) and the manipulation of elusive Croc. will no longer remain secret and protected by dishonestly and purposely made biased laws. Without human cruelty or bloodshed a change sooner or later is better. The West in its best honest new form with a new set of foreign policies, inpartial attitude and a ‘win win game agenda’ will begin to win the trust of the evolved global public again soon and positively change the world this time around. The CC will approve humanity’s positivity on a priority basis at this time.

I get the picture that Josue is trying to sarcastically show us, and perhaps our Supreme Court and politicians, how totally ridiculous the Super Pac’s are.  Seems ANYONE can start a Super PAC since there are few regulations today to monitor them.  Yes, he’s started several, but he’s showing us that they are a piece of cake and there’s no one watching the bakery!!!