- The DOJ accused 3 people of running pro-Trump and pro-Clinton scam PACs in 2016.
- The trio raised $3.5 million between 2 PACs but donated just $19 to former President Trump, according to prosecutors.
- 2 could face up to 125 years in prison, while the third could face up to 65 years behind bars.
The Department of Justice announced on Wednesday that it had indicted 3 individuals for allegedly running a “scam PAC” operation that swindled donors out of $3.5 million dollars – and only spent $19 on any campaigns.
Matthew Tunstall, Robert Reyes, and Kyle Davies have each been charged with some combination of wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wirefraud, conspiracy to make a false statement to the Federal Election Commission, and money laundering. Tunstall and Reyes could face up to 125 years in prison, while Davis could face up to 65 years.
The trio ran operated two political action committees, including a pro-Donald Trump PAC called “Liberty Action Group” and a pro-Hillary Clinton PAC called “Progressive Priorities,” both of which were registered in 2016.
Altogether, the two PACs raised roughly $3.5 million from donors around the country, including robo-call solicitations from the pro-Trump PAC that claimed Clinton would “release violent criminals and jail” and from the pro-Clinton PAC that urged respondents to “fight back against those who would drive us apart.”
The group is accused of siphoning off money from the PACs both through direct transfers to their bank accounts and by laundering the funds through media companies that were paid for things like “Consulting Media and Fundraising.”
According to the indictment, “only approximately $19 were distributed to any candidate’s authorized campaign committee or to any political cause.”
And this isn’t Tunstall’s only time running a pro-Trump PAC accused of being a scam. He did the same in 2019 and even in 2021.
“There’s nothing we can do to stop them,” Kelly Sadler, a spokesperson for Trump’s America First super PAC, told POLITICO in 2019 about scam PACs. “This is a problem for the campaign, as well as us, as well as for the RNC.”
And according to CNN’s KFILE, Tunstall has managed to built a lavish life in Los Angeles off of funds from the pro-Trump PACs, living under the pseudonym “Matte Nox” while driving a Porsche Panamera and showing off designer clothing on his social media accounts.
“Self-enrichment is the defining characteristic of a scam PAC, regardless of what they’re saying they’re doing or in fact doing with the money,” Paul S. Ryan, the vice president of policy and litigation at the watchdog group Common Cause, told CNN. “Just saying that you spent the money on robocalls doesn’t negate allegations of scam PAC-i-ness.”
But now, Tunstall and his co-conspirators could be facing decades behind bars.