Kid Rock Won’t Face FEC Action Over Senate Stunt

Commission finds that “Devil Without a Cause” musician “does not appear to have taken even the most basic steps of becoming a candidate”

Kid Rock won’t face action from the Federal Election Commission for seeming to suggest that he was considering a run for the U.S. Senate last year.

The FEC has closed a file pertaining to a complaint brought against “Devil Without a Cause” musician Kid Rock (real name: Robert Ritchie) and Warner Bros. Records, the commission said last week.

According to the FEC, the complaint was brought by Common Cause and Paul S. Ryan, and alleged that “by issuing tweets, an online public statement and a website, Ritchie became a federal candidate but failed to abide by the relevant registration and reporting requirements, contribution limits and source prohibitions.”

The FEC’s Statement of Reasons for closing the file noted that, in the summer of 2017, Kid Rock published a website, kidrockforsenate.com, which offered Kid Rock for U.S. Senate merchandise.

“Over several weeks, Ritchie tweeted the website’s URL and images of ‘Kid Rock for US Senate’ merchandise,” the Statement of Reasons noted. However, in an interview with Howard Stern in October 2017, “Ritchie colorfully and clearly disclaimed that he would be running for Senate.” (To be precise, Kid Rock told Stern, “F— no, I’m not running for Senate, are you f—ing kidding me?”)

In its Statement of Reasons, the Commission noted that Kid Rock “does not appear to have taken even the most basic steps of becoming a candidate.”

“Ritchie – who respondents credibly argue is barred from being identified as ‘Kid Rock’ on a Michigan election ballot — does not appear to have taken even the most basic steps to become a candidate. There is no evidence that Ritchie ever established a committee or campaign account, sought ballot access, hired a campaign staff or political consultants, sought to participate in a candidate debate, opened a campaign office, or solicited contributions for a campaign. Nor does the record show that Ritchie made statements indicating he was a candidate under his legal name,” the statement reads.

The statement continues, “In contrast to all these steps not taken, Ritchie explicitly disclaimed that he was running for Senate, or that he had ever intended to do so, more than a year before the general election. Accordingly, we do not believe the record in this matter — the sale of concert-themed merchandise by a musician who explicitly disclaimed candidacy –implicates concerns which are central to the Commission’s regulatory mission or deserving of its resources.”

The FEC also noted that the Kid Rock matter “implicates a broad set of fundamental First Amendment rights,” adding, “Ritchie is a musical artist and argues that ‘Kid Rock’ is a stage name imbued with the artistic persona Ritchie has worked to cultivate.”