Two political-action committees with missions to support veterans and law enforcement, which share the same treasurer, are spending all of their money on administrative fees. In the first six months of 2021, neither group appeared to spend anything on veterans or police.
The American Veterans Initiative, which promises to advocate for veterans suffering from PTSD or suicidal thoughts, disbursed $691,000 in the first six months of the year. Every penny went toward administrative costs like payment processing, leads, and payroll. Similarly, the Police Coalition of America, which promises “to enact positive change and legislation that protects our citizens as well as our law enforcement,” spent $530,000 on administrative fees and nothing on anything else.
“These are the prototypical characteristics of a scam PAC,” said Brett Kappel, an attorney specializing in campaign finance at Harmon, Curran, Spielberg & Eisenberg.
Three firms combined to receive 89 percent of American Veterans Initiative in the 2020 cycle— American Payment Services of Fairmont, WV; Central Technology Services of Dubois, PA; and United Data Services of Wichita, KS. The American Veterans Initiative is the only political committee registered with the FEC to have ever paid any of those three firms. Their addresses are all mailboxes at UPS Stores, and none of the companies are registered with the secretaries of state where their mailboxes are located.
The PACs draw almost all of their money from small-dollar donors. More than half of the people who contributed to the American Veterans Initiative identified themselves as retirees. Almost half of the donors to the Police Coalition of America also said they retired.
“Potential contributors should be extremely wary of any PAC that doesn’t spend a dime supporting or opposing candidates, either by making contributions directly to candidates or by making independent expenditures for or against them,” Kappel said. “Any PAC that solicits contributions promising to use them to support candidates who support veterans, police, firefighters or other first responders and then fails to so may be prosecuted for mail and/or wire fraud.”