Kid Rock has managed to avoid any legal repercussions that might have resulted from an investigation into whether he breached federal election laws during a 2017 promotional run that many fans and members of the media mistook for a legitimate U.S. Senate campaign.
The Detroit Free Press reports that earlier this week, the Federal Elections Commission (FEC) decided to drop a complaint that had been filed against the rap-rocker by a vote of 3-1. Rock, whose given name is Robert Ritchie, had been facing accusations that he failed to comply with laws requiring that he register as a candidate and report any contributions he may have been receiving while teasing a senatorial run to unseat Democratic incumbent Debbie Stabenow in his native Michigan.
As D.C. watchdog Common Cause notes on its website, the group moved to bring up a grievance against Kid Rock following widespread reports of him disseminating campaign propaganda, and even sprucing his shows up with stage props and stump speeches that lent the impression he was serious about organizing a potential ticket. For a time, Rock had a website of his own up that sold “Kid Rock for Senate” hats and T-shirts. He eventually conceded that it was all a stunt, as was reported in USA Today earlier this year. But he continued to tease the possibility thereafter.
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Such was the case when during an appearance on the Howard Stern Show, Rock threatened to bring any political aspirations he might have been hiding to the national stage in the literal sense if his critics on the left continued to feud with him in the press.
“If they keep f**king with me in the papers and everything, I’m going to run,” The Hill quotes Rock as telling Stern at the time. “And I’m going to go to f**king D.C., I’m going to beat the s**t out of Debbie — whatever the f**k her name is — and then I’m going to go to D.C. and I’m going to smack the living s**t out of all of them motherf**kers on the Hill,” he continued on to say.
In spite of the impression he may have given off, the FEC determined that Kid Rock never took the fundamental steps necessary to get a campaign off of the ground. In its ruling, the commission notes that there is no record of him ever starting up a campaign account, hiring any staffers or consultants of a political nature, nor had he sought ballot access or pooled traceable contributions. He never even propagated the notion of a run using his real name, which the FEC says invalidated him as a candidate from the jump.
“Ritchie states under oath that he had no intention of being a candidate and that ‘Kid Rock for US Senate’ was a slogan, part-and-parcel of his expression as an artist, including his music, staging, merchandising, and advertising,” the commission wrote in acknowledgement of his argument as substantial in the ruling.