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A man disparaging Jews and someone pretending to be H.R. McMaster just created federal campaign committees. It may be weeks before regulators do anything about it.

Federal Election Commission logo
The Federal Election Commission logo at its headquarters in Washington, DC.
  • Two recently established political committees appear to violate FEC regulations.
  • One committee uses a potential candidate's name without their permission. The other includes antisemitic language in its name.
  • Despite the violations, it may take regulators days or weeks to address the problems.

On November 12, following a speech from retired lieutenant general H.R. McMaster at the Richmond Forum in Virginia, a man says he found himself so inspired that he formed a political committee to support McMaster for president in 2024. 

His mistake? Naming the PAC "H.R. McMaster for President." Federal regulations generally prohibit committees from using the name of a prospective candidate in their committee's name.

Then, two days after the McMaster filing, another man filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission to form a committee with completely different — and hostile — intentions. The campaign committee is named "Peter Y. Liu for U.S. Senate 2024 Against Jew Supremacy in America." It appears to violate an FEC policy for using obscene language.

In the meantime, however, anyone perusing the federal government's latest campaign filings could reasonably conclude that McMaster has launched a run for the presidency — he most certainly has not — or come across official documents strewn with hate speech.

H.R. McMaster
Then-national security advisor H.R. McMaster speaks to the media about President Trump's meeting with Russian diplomats in the Oval Office on May 15, 2017 in Washington, DC.

They're the latest examples in a years-long series of shenanigans taking place in one of the federal government's less-traveled corridors. And it may be weeks before federal officials do anything about it.

FEC spokesperson Christian Hilland told Insider that the man who created the pro-McMaster committee could fix his situation by amending the filing to make it a "draft committee." This allows someone to use a prospective candidate's name to essentially encourage them to run for office — and raise money toward that goal.

A notable instance of this type of committee: the "Ready for Hillary" PAC, which promoted a Hillary Clinton presidential campaign before she formally announced her intentions to run for the White House during the 2016 election.

Peter Marcia, the man listed as creating the pro-McMaster committee, could not be reached for comment.

As for Liu's antisemitic committee name, the FEC has a process for dealing with that — but it's a protracted one.

FEC commissioners adopted a policy in 2016 to have agency staff flag any political committees that include "fictional characters, obscene language, sexual references, celebrities (where there is no indication that the named celebrity submitted the filing), animals, or similarly implausible entries" in their names.

The policy in part arose from a rash of bogus presidential candidates — led by an Iowa teenager who launched the "Deez Nuts" presidential campaign, but also including Star Trek Captain Jean-Luc PicardQueen Elsa from Disney's "Frozen," former Cuban President Fidel Castro, Jedi knight Obi-Wan Kenobi, and Captain Crunch

After flagging a suspected sham political committee, the FEC then sends a verification letter to the filer notifying them of potential penalties and asking them to confirm, or amend, their filing.

According to previous Insider reporting, if the committee fails to respond within 35 days or withdraws its filings, the FEC labels the committee as "unverified" and moves the committee's listing to a "download-only spreadsheet buried on the FEC's website." The FEC may also move to "administratively terminate" a committee, as well.

A verification crisis across the web

As the FEC slowly works to purge hate and fake candidates from its databases, US politicians are also dealing with an influx of imposters on Twitter after its new owner, Elon Musk, implemented new policies regarding verification status.

Musk, who took over the social media company in late October, made it so anyone — not just public figures, celebrities, journalists, and politicians — can receive the blue verification checkmark on their user profiles for an initial payment of $8.

Soon after Musk made this decision, verified accounts were created with the express goal of impersonating past and present US leaders, such as President Joe Biden, Sen. Ted Cruz, Gov. Ron DeSantis, and Sen. Ed Markey.

Markey, who collaborated with the Washington Post to highlight how easy it is for anyone to create an account impersonating a public figure on Twitter, later admonished the platform and Musk for "putting profits over people and his debt over stopping disinformation."

But it appears that Musk isn't taking the senator's concerns to heart — the CEO responded by mocking the leader.

And with Twitter struggling to moderate its user base and the FEC taking its time to address the validity and content of election filings in its database, it's likely only a matter of time before fake social media accounts intentionally or unintentionally prop up fake candidates for the 2024 election.

Read the original article on Business Insider

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