Did Kid Rock’s fake Senate run violate campaign finance laws?
That fake Senate campaign from Kid Rock apparently didn't defy any political finance laws set forth by the Federal Election Commission, according to a new report by the Detroit Free Press, even though the Republican-baiting "Kid Rock for U.S. Senate" bid was a purely promotional stunt tied to the "Bawitdaba" rocker's upcoming album and tour.
Last year, Rock, whose real name is Robert Ritchie, spent a good chunk of time convincing the American people he was planning to run against Democrat Debbie Stabenow for a Senate seat in his home state of Michigan, as noted by SPIN. The faux campaign kicked off with a cringeworthy first stump speech and highlighted the musician's obtuse stance on transgender rights in line with Trump's trans military ban.
But the FEC now agrees with the self-proclaimed "American Bad Ass" that the promotion was merely "an artistic and commercial undertaking" in its 3-1 decision this week. The commission is dismissing a complaint from the watchdog group Common Cause positing that Kid Rock violated various candidate registration and financial reporting rules:
"There is no evidence that Ritchie ever established a committee or campaign account, sought ballot access, hired a campaign staff or political consultants, sought to participate in a candidate debate, opened a campaign office, or solicited contributions for a campaign," reads the FEC's decision. "Nor does the record show that Ritchie made statements indicating he was a candidate under his legal name."
Rock revealed his real intentions in an interview with Howard Stern last year, the musician acting indignant toward a belief in his candidacy. The true reason behind the run? "I'm releasing a new album," he told Stern. "I'm going on tour, too."
Rock claims he's "an entertainer whose political message is bound up into his art" in a sworn statement to the FEC." He contends the prank bid was "coalescing around common-sense, anti-status quo and patriotic-themed images and events."
Kid Rock's "campaign" website touts slogans such as "Born Free" and "In Rock We Trust" while showing clothing that backed the artist's fake Senate run. (After all this, it may be surprising to learn that Rock once graced the cover of AP.)
Rock called the stunt "one of the dumber things I've ever done" in a November interview with Billboard, but added, "it was a fuckin' riot. ... Some of the shit that went on was unbelievable. It started to become real, which got a little scary; I mean I just don't understand who looks at Kid Rock and goes, 'Yeah, I see a senator there...' But it was still a lot of fun in a lot of ways."
The FEC ruling mentions that Rock and his manger described the counterfeit political run as bolstering a "middle America [that] should not lose faith in our country and ourselves" with concerts providing a "patriotic experience." Rock donated around $122,000 from the sales of his fake campaign merch to voter-registration organization CRNC Action, an affiliate of the College Republican National Committee.
Were you ever convinced by the fake Senate run? Did you cop any of Rock's political merch when it went up for sale? Sound off in the comments section, down below, and let us know your take on the FEC's recent Kid Rock campaign ruling.