2024

Tim Scott’s Shady Campaign Finances

‘God’s messenger’ may have more in common with the temple moneychangers …

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A presidential candidate who has built his bid for the White House on the notion of restoring faith in America now wants America to take it on faith when it comes to his secretive spending of millions of dollars in campaign funds. U.S. senator Tim Scott is refusing to come clean on the inner workings of his own campaign organization, a shadowy facade of strip mall front groups erected in an apparent attempt to disguise disbursements and conceal expenditures from public view. The sleight of hand risks making a candidate who brands himself as God’s messenger appear to have more in common with the infamous moneychangers in the temple.

Late last month, The New York Times ran a piece on Scott’s finances noting that most of the $6.6 million he spent during the most recent fundraising quarter – from April to June of this year – “cannot be traced to an actual vendor.”

According to reporters Rebecca Davis O’Brien and Alexandra Berzon, $5.3 million of Scott’s quarterly expenditures “went to two shadowy entities: newly formed limited liability companies with no online presence and no record of other federal election work, whose addresses are Staples stores in suburban strip malls.”

The names of the companies? Meeting Street Services LLC and Advanced Planning and Logistics.

Neither company can be located online. Neither company has done previous work in federal elections. The two companies were set up by the same person – Barry M. Benjamin – in Delaware in the months prior to Scott announcing his candidacy for the White House. One uses a Staples store in North Charleston, S.C. as its “home address.” The other uses a Staples store in Fairfax, Virginia.

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Of interest? In addition to the cash he’s shelled out with these two shadow firms, Scott spent $4.5 million with Meeting Street Services prior to officially entering the presidential race earlier this year.

According to the O’Brien and Berzon, Scott’s campaign is “the only campaign that paid the company.”

More on that in a moment …

To be clear: Scott isn’t the only presidential candidate engaging in such secretive spending. Florida governor Ron DeSantis is also using similar reporting methods to conceal where his campaign cash is going. And technically, lax Federal Election Commission (FEC) standards and enforcement make these shady payouts perfectly legal.

The problem for Scott? Legal or not, he’s supposed to be above such deceptive practices. He’s supposed to be better than this.

The Scripture-quoting candidate – who has rightfully reinserted God into a conversation about America’s foundational values – would be wise to remember 1 John 1:7, which exhorts us to “walk in the light.” Or Psalm 139, in which King David implores the Lord to “search him” and know him. Or Proverbs 28:13, which reminds us those who “conceal” transgressions “do not prosper.”

Am I saying Scott is a “transgressor?”

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Not necessarily, but the underhanded way in which he has chosen to run his presidential bid could wind up creating a far bigger problem than just hidden disbursements. For example, there could be far more troubling secrets lurking within this shadow spending.

According to FEC filings, political action committees backing Scott’s presidential bid – including the Trust in the Mission PAC and the Opportunity Matters Fund – are using the same shady vendors. Trust in the Mission PAC spent $131,000 with Advance Planning and Logistics during the month of June alone. Meanwhile, Opportunity Matters spent nearly $210,000 with the company for “travel management consulting/ travel” during the second quarter of 2023.

Does such co-mingling of funds constitute improper coordination between Scott’s official campaign and these dark money groups?

Again, we can’t tell if the dark money going into the PACs is being routed to the right places because Scott’s campaign spending has also been veiled.

Exacerbating the problem? A lack of sunlight from those whose job is to expose such deceptive practices. Aside from The New York Times (and now this media outlet) there has been very little scrutiny of these sketchy catch-all campaign expenditure front groups.

On Twitter (or “X,” as it now goes by), a woman by the name of “Mel” – who operates under the handle “Village Crazy Lady” – has done some even deeper digging into Scott’s strip mall spending scrutiny shields.

https://twitter.com/Villgecrazylady/status/1688642830283964416

“We still know next-to-nothing about where this money is actually going,” the North Carolina native noted in one post.

“An exhaustive search engine query produced nothing on Meeting Street Services LLC,” she tweeted in a lengthy thread earlier this month about Scott’s secretive disbursements. “No web page, no social media accounts, no LinkdIn accounts listing … NOTHING.”

Yet within thirty days of filing paperwork for its South Carolina strip mall address (which, again, is a Staples), Meeting Street LLC had already taken in nearly $3 million from Scott’s campaign.

“There’s no such thing as a one-stop shop,” Mel wrote. “Except that’s exactly what Meeting Street Services appears to be.”

Mel – who declined to lend her last name to the conversation – told me she had “no special animus towards Scott” but was “just tired of do-nothing politicians only in it for the kickbacks.”

“I’m just your average internet sleuth,” she said. “I’m a lifelong, registered, Republican who is beyond disappointed with our big-talking, do-nothing politicians, worthless media and easily distracted base.”

Mel said she was especially disappoint in the lack of media attention.

“Where is the press on this?” she wondered. “Where is conservative media on this? The NYT does one article and you all think your job is done? Why has it become okay for our politicians to funnels millions of dollars through newly formed shell corporations with absolutely ZERO pushback from the public? There’s a significant chance that Scott gets a high level cabinet position in exchange for dropping out and backing someone else.”

Accordingly, “he should give a detailed account of where that money went, and provide outside receipts for all ad buys.”

I concur … unfortunately, so far all I am hearing from the Scott campaign is crickets.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR …

Will Folks (Brett Flashnick)

Will Folks is the founding editor of the news outlet you are currently reading. Prior to founding FITSNews, he served as press secretary to the governor of South Carolina. He lives in the Midlands region of the state with his wife and seven children.

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8 comments

Republican Street Cred August 21, 2023 at 11:16 am

I swear Republicans have a secret credit score system that denotes how easy your are to be bought and how cheap it costs. Tim’s got a way to go to get to Clarence’s level though.

Reply
Kin To Randy Scott? August 21, 2023 at 11:27 am

Tim Scott is a joke. South Carolina’s other sexually ambiguous US Senator has always been a guaranteed vote to renew the (anything BUT patriotic) Patriot Act. He doesn’t deserve to be Senator, much less President.

Reply
Bob August 21, 2023 at 7:24 pm

Yes, Republicans running for President do it for the grift. They know they have no chance of winning, so why not rip off the rubes.

Reply
John August 25, 2023 at 3:22 pm

Hey Bob, see Barack Obama, came into WH with no $, left with home on Martha’s Vineyard

Reply
Only Moderate Here Top fan August 21, 2023 at 8:04 pm

Tim’s running for Vice President, not President. Once we all accept that, this grift fits in well with his running-mate-to-be.

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Wayne Hegamyer Top fan August 22, 2023 at 10:42 am

10 years ago the one year rental (for unlimited use) of a 127 million households database was $600,000. This was from one of the top 3 data aggregators and since then data has become more complete, sophisticated and expensive. A typical candidate would likely be using several data sources for their targeting so the expenses mentioned are not surprising to me.

Reply
John August 25, 2023 at 3:21 pm

Hey Bob, see Barack Obama, came into WH with no $, left with home on Martha’s Vineyard ???

Reply
Thomas August 25, 2023 at 10:36 pm

Someone knocked on my door a month ago and left a paper placard bearing SEN Scott’s image and likeness. The paper wasps delighted in the opportunity to build a strong nests with it…

Reply

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