Super PAC's Part in Congressional Race Raises Concern
Newly-released documents show that a Northern Kentucky businessman is the primary donor and a significant fundraiser for a super PAC that’s involved in Kentucky’s Fourth Congressional District race. But super PAC officials say the man has no official role with the group. Richard Knock of Union is a frequent Republican donor and he supports Thomas Massie in the seven-way GOP primary for the Fourth District Seat.
Knock is also a key supporter of AmeriGOP, a super PAC that backs Massie. Knock’s business Miss KC LLC donated $10,000 to the group, which has $30,000 in the bank. Federal Election Commission documents also credit Knock with a more than $500 in-kind donation for hosting the very first AmeriGOP event at his house. Further, Knock penned a letter soliciting donations for the group and saying AmeriGOP supports Massie.
But super PAC officials say Knock does not have any authority with the group.
“He hosted a gathering at his home and very graciously provided refreshments at his own expense,” says AmeriGOP treasurer Michael Adams. “But he is in no way involved in the strategy of the PAC, the communications of the PAC, in the internal affairs of the PAC,” Adams says.
In an interview, Knock affirmed his support for Massie, but deferred when asked about the business contribution to AmeriGOP.
The relationship between Massie and Knock has other candidates in the race questioning the role of the super PAC in the GOP Primary. Massie appeared at Knock’s AmeriGOP fundraiser, and some of Massie’s opponents are questioning whether federal election laws are being followed. Massie’s appearance and speech at Knock’s fundraiser is legal, but Massie is not allowed to ask for donations above a certain amount for a SuperPAC or coordinate with the organization.
Adams says he made sure Massie told the crowd he was not there to raise money. Knock and Massie have denied allegations of coordination. Knock has also denied working with the SuperPAC at all. But Jonathan Duke, the campaign manager for Massey’s opponent Gary Moore, says Massie’s actions, especially at the fundraiser, make it hard to believe that there was no unlawful coordination.
“The information of Massie actually going to an event at Dick Knock’s home, disclaimers being read, you can’t imagine that any reasonable person would be expected to be believe they weren’t aware of what was going on and that this wasn’t a super PAC for [Massie's] benefit,” he says.
Another candidate in the race, Marcus Carey, claims Massie also had a private meeting with Knock before the PAC was formed. But Massie and Knock have denied the meeting.