Susan Collins (R-ME) has the dubious distinction of being the most unpopular member of the United States Senate, edging out Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) by two percentage points — 52 to 50 percent — in a recent Morning Consult poll.
Being that disliked means that Collins is facing a tough bid to keep her Senate seat in November, when she’s up for reelection, and it may well have led her campaign to accept a gigantic contribution from a shady company that appears to have been set up for no other reason than to serve as conduit for dark money to bolster the chances of the Maine senator.
The Daily Beast reports that the Campaign Legal Center has filed a complaint against the Collins for Senate 2020 campaign, and their complaint is based on the company that recently made a substantial contribution:
“The company, Society of Young Women Scientist and Engineers LLC, was formed in late November, according to corporate records in Hawaii. Just over a month later, on December 31, the company donated $150,000 to 1820 PAC, a deep-pocketed super PAC with ties to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce that was created to help reelect Sen. Susan Collins.”
Here’s what we know about this questionable company that gave $150,000 to Collins:
- It has no website or social media presence
- Its address is listed as P.O. box in Honolulu
All of this has led the Campaign Legal Center to note in the compliant it filed with the Federal Elections Commission (FEC):
“The available facts do not suggest that SYWSE conducted any business or had sufficient income from assets, investment earnings, business revenues, or bona fide capital investments to cover the $150,000 contribution to 1820 PAC at the time the contribution was made, without an infusion of funds provided to them for that purpose.”
The questionable donation first came to the attention of ProPublica, which has been following the Collins campaign closely:
2019 donors to 1820 PAC, a super PAC backing Susan Collins in #MESEN, included
* Warren Stephens
* Newsmax Media
* Something called the Society for Young Woman Scientist and Engineers LLC in Hawaii (no website or Google results)https://t.co/LeqTjBwy8r#FECFilingDay pic.twitter.com/TmMTZyeN7y
— Derek Willis (@derekwillis) January 31, 2020
Here’s the bottom line: The SYWSE is nothing more than a shell corporation set up for the purpose of making a straw donation to Collins with the intention of keeping the real donor hidden. For all we know, the company may be controlled by Russia or China, or even an organized crime figure. Granted, we have no proof of that, but we also don’t have proof that it didn’t come from a foreign government or nefarious source.
Collins can insist that the money be returned, but she hasn’t yet. Or she can let us know exactly who is really behind the Society of Young Women Scientist and Engineers. Of course, we won’t hold our breath waiting for either one.