Kid Rock is not actually running for Senate, as he announced casually on an episode of The Howard Stern Show two weeks ago. He’d been running a stunt campaign for the preceding three months, that had tricked fans and political insiders alike into believing he was serious. That campaign included the sale of “Kid Rock for Senate” merchandise, the proceeds from which would be donated to a new nonprofit organization to encourage voter registration, according to a disclaimer that was recently removed from the rap-rocker’s website. BuzzFeed has been attempting to find out more about this apparent fundraising effort–how much money was raised, what is the nonprofit called, does it exist at all–and Rock’s camp isn’t talking.
According to BuzzFeed, when their reporter recently began making inquiries about the merchandise, a disclaimer reading “All proceeds go to voter registration efforts. This is not a political contribution,” disappeared from the website where the items was being sold, which was operated by Warner Bros. Records, Rock’s label. In July, when Rock’s campaign was ostensibly still on, he stated that he was “creating a 501(c)(4)” for the “promotion of voter registration,” and that all proceeds would be donated there. Rock’s representatives have not responded to BuzzFeed’s requests for more information, and a Warner spokesperson said only that “Kid Rock is not doing any press at this time.”
The fate of the merch money is especially interesting in light of the fact that Rock (born Robert Ritchie) did not register with the Federal Election Commission while running a fake campaign that was realistic enough to convince a super PAC operated with backing from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. It’s unclear whether that ruse constitutes any kind of formal FEC violation. But if the supposed charitable donations turn out to be a sham as well, at the very least, it would be a pretty bad look for Rock.