FBI agents enforced a search warrant against an Annapolis-based conservative political consulting firm on Thursday.
Though the raid led to speculation on social media that the raid is part of the FBI’s investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian government, the targeted firm, Strategic Campaign Group, does work with several political action committees accused of running fundraising scams targeting Republican donors.
Baltimore’s WMAL first reported the raid.
Strategic Campaign Group is operated by consultant Kelley Rogers.
Federal Election Commission records show that the firm has worked for several political action committees that have been accused of fraudulent fundraising activities.
The client list includes The Conservative Strikeforce, Tea Party Majority Fund, and Conservative Majority Fund. All three share the same treasurer, a Alexandria, Va. resident named Scott Mackenzie.
Calls placed to Rogers and Strategic Campaign Group were not answered. Mackenzie also did not respond to phone calls seeking comment.
Rogers told Annapolis’ Capital Gazette that the raid centered on an investigation related to a lawsuit filed by former Virginia attorney general Ken Cuccinelli.
Cuccinelli, who ran for governor in 2013, told CBS last year that there was “no question” that Conservative Strikeforce is a scam. The PAC, which used Cuccinelli’s image in its fundraising materials, raised around $33 million between 2011 and 2016, yet spent less than eight percent on political campaigns.
Last April, conservative activist Erick Erickson alleged that the Conservative Majority Fund was operating a scam to defraud Republican voters.
“I assume the Conservative Majority Fund is a scam PAC. In its February filing with the FEC it claims to be paying an outside group to support Ted Cruz. Now it is raising money off of Donald Trump’s name,” Erickson wrote at his website, The Resurgent.
He noted that the PAC raised nearly $5 million but spent only tens of thousands of dollars on political campaigns.
The rest of the money went to other political action committees to raise more money from donors. Most of the money likely went into the pockets of the PAC’s operators rather than to help election conservative candidates.
Politico reported on a similar scam operated by Tea Party Majority Fund.
As Politico noted, Mackenzie’s network of PACs raised nearly $18 million and spent less than one percent on campaigns.
Mackenzie is also registered as the treasurer for a group called Patriots for Trump. The PAC raised $131,000 and claims it spent $122,000 in support of the Trump campaign. Most of those expenditures went to an Ohio-based call center called Infocision Management Corp.
This article has been updated with additional information.