RFK Jr. Has Millions on Hand to Fund 2024 Independent Run

RFK Jr. Has Millions on Hand to Fund 2024 Independent Run
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Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s independent campaign for the White House is lining up to be the most significant third party challenge since Ross Perot’s 1992 effort.

In an email to The Epoch Times, the Kennedy campaign’s press secretary Stefanie Spear said the current focus is “getting Mr. Kennedy on the ballot in all 50 states.”

“We are spending most of our money on setting up field offices in every state, organizing volunteers, and organizing rallies,” Ms. Spear said.

Since announcing his intent to run as an independent rather than a Democrat in October, Mr. Kennedy has made 13 official campaign appearances in South Carolina, Maryland, Maine, Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, Texas, Florida, Georgia, and North Carolina.

At the end of September, the last time the Federal Election Commission released fundraising data for presidential campaigns and affiliated political action committees, Mr. Kennedy had raised $15 million.

According to FEC filings, Mr. Kennedy’s principal campaign committee, Team Kennedy, had about $6.1 million on hand at the end of September. It had spent about $8.9 million.

By comparison, Mr. Kennedy’s campaign had more cash on hand at the end of September than Republican Party candidates Vivek Ramaswamy, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, and North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum.

Outside Support

A fund supporting Mr. Kennedy, American Values 2024, said it had raised about $9.8 million in 2023 when its midyear report was filed with the FEC. It is a super political action committee (super PAC), meaning it can raise unlimited amounts of money but cannot directly coordinate with the candidate or campaign.

American Values 2024’s biggest supporter, as of the end of June, was American businessman Timothy Mellon, an heir of the Mellon family, who is now living in Wyoming. He gave $5 million in April. Mr. Mellon was previously a donor to former President Donald Trump.

His second biggest donor was Gavin de Becker, leader of the private security firm Gavin de Becker & Associates, who gave a total of $4.5 million by the end of June.

In 2022, American Values 2024—then called People’s Pharma Movement—raised $550,000 between July 29, 2022, and the end of that year. The principal donor was Mark Gorton, founder of New York-based trading and technology company Tower Research Capital, who gave $500,000 in 2022.

The Epoch Times previously reported American Values 2024 believes it can raise as much as $100 million by the end of 2024. As of the end of June 2023, the super PAC spent about $155,000 to support Mr. Kennedy’s campaign.

The Epoch Times previously reported that No Labels, a Washington-based 501(c)(4) organization focused on electing centrist candidates, intends to be on the ballot in 28 states by the end of 2023 and in all 50 states in time for the 2024 election. The organization has yet to announce a candidate for its ticket.

Campaign Consultants and Materials

So far, the Kennedy campaign has spent a significant amount of money on campaign consultants, printed materials, internet advertising, and a tour bus.

FEC filings show Team Kennedy paid various consultants more than $1 million through the end of September. Most of the money, about $519,000, went to Parker Reed Corp., a Florida-based branding and media consultancy.

Another large tranche, $185,000, went to Dennis Kucinich’s Kucinich Consulting LLC. The longtime congressman from Ohio and two-time presidential candidate served as Mr. Kennedy’s campaign manager until October. He was replaced by Amaryllis Kennedy, Mr. Kennedy’s daughter-in-law.

The Kennedy campaign also paid $179,500 to John Zogby Strategies, which is run by longtime pollster and analyst John Zogby.

So far, Team Kennedy has bought about $54,000 worth of Facebook ads. This ties into the campaign’s stated strategy of going after younger voters who spend less time with traditional media.

FEC filings also show Mr. Kennedy purchased a campaign vehicle for about $190,000 from Land and Sea Specialty LLC of Gibsonton, Florida, in July. The campaign spent hundreds of thousands of dollars with various printing and media companies for campaign materials, too.

Secret Service Requests Denied

Mr. Kennedy’s campaign has requested Secret Service protection from the Biden administration three times but the request has been denied each time, so the campaign is spending about 30 percent of its budget on security, Ms. Spear said.

The Epoch Times reached out to the U.S. Secret Service to ask about Mr. Kennedy’s protection but didn’t receive a response by press time.

Ken Farnaso, a spokesman for former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley’s campaign, said Ms. Haley does not yet have a Secret Service detail. The Epoch Times reached out to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ campaign but didn’t receive a reply by press time.

However, according to its website, the Secret Service, under U.S. law, is required to protect “major” presidential and vice presidential candidates and their spouses within 120 days of a general presidential election.

The Secret Service has no role in determining who is to be considered a major candidate,” the agency’s website says. “The Secretary of Homeland Security determines who qualifies as a major candidate and when such protection should commence.”

According to Team Kennedy’s spending disclosures with the FEC, the campaign is currently paying private firm Gavin de Becker & Associates for security services. Filings list seven transactions between July 7 and Sept. 13 totaling more than $900,000 for security services.

In an interview, Mr. de Becker said his company works security for the campaign. His website says the business “protects several thousand clients, including more than 80 of the world’s most prominent families and at-risk individuals.” Mr. de Becker confirmed he donated to the super PAC, which is not directly tied to the Kennedy campaign.

On Oct. 25, the Kennedy campaign made its most recent appeal to Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, detailing recent security incidents.

In a September event in Los Angeles, an armed man posing as a U.S. Marshal was arrested by the Los Angeles Police Department after demanding to see Mr. Kennedy. In October, an intruder invaded Mr. Kennedy’s home in Los Angeles twice in the same day and was intercepted by private security, and arrested by the LAPD, twice.

In its letter to Mr. Mayorkas, the Kennedy campaign said for more than 55 years presidential candidates have received a secret service detail much earlier than the 120-day mark required by law.

“Your refusal is the sole outlier, making the Biden Administration the only one to refuse a protection request,” the letter said.

Both Mr. Kennedy’s uncle, former President John F. Kennedy, and his father, former Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, were assassinated in the 1960s in attacks that continue to live on in the American psyche.

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