Press Releases

End Citizens United and Campaign Legal Center File FEC Complaint Against Sen. Cruz Over Illegal Transfer of Money from iHeartMedia Deal

Apr 09, 2024

End Citizens United (ECU) and Campaign Legal Center (CLC) today filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) against Senator Ted Cruz. The complaint alleges that Cruz illegally directed over $630,000 from iHeartMedia to a super PAC that is supporting his campaign––a violation of federal law that prohibits directing or soliciting “soft money.”

“Ted Cruz is once again showing his hostility and total disregard for anti-corruption laws that are designed to prevent undue influence by corporations. By funneling over $630,000 of corporate cash into his super PAC, he’s brazenly attempting to skirt federal regulations––and it reeks of impropriety,” said End Citizens United President Tiffany Muller. “His arrangement with iHeartMedia raises serious ethical and legal red flags. We urge the FEC to immediately launch an investigation and hold Cruz accountable to the highest extent for this apparent violation of the law.”

“There is a reason why federal candidates are legally prohibited from using ‘soft money’—that is, money raised outside the scope of federal election law—to power their campaigns. This type of funding risks putting the priorities of wealthy special interests above everyone else and makes our political process more vulnerable to corruption,” said Campaign Legal Center’s Senior Director of Campaign Finance Erin Chlopak. “Yet all available information makes it seem that a partnership between Texas Senator Ted Cruz and iHeartMedia has produced such an illegal transfer, with over $630,000 in ‘income’ from Cruz’s podcast moving to a super PAC supporting his reelection. To give Texas voters clarity on this matter, the Federal Election Commission must swiftly investigate this matter and determine whether Sen. Cruz played a role in directing this transfer.”

The complaint:

  • Senator Cruz hosts a podcast, “Verdict with Ted Cruz,” which since 2022 has been paid for, marketed, and distributed by iHeartMedia, Inc., a corporation that has contributed over $630,000 to Truth and Courage PAC (“TCP”), a super PAC supporting Cruz’s 2024 reelection campaign.

  • TCP has reported these receipts not as contributions but as “Other Receipts,” while iHeartMedia has acknowledged that the money is “associated with ad sales” generated by Cruz’s podcast.

  • Because the overall facts support the conclusion that iHeartMedia is sending this ad-based “digital revenue” to TCP at the request or direction of Cruz, there is reason to believe Cruz has violated federal campaign finance laws that prohibit federal candidates and officeholders from soliciting or directing “soft money”—including money from corporations, which are categorically prohibited from contributing to candidates—in connection with his 2024 reelection efforts.

  • By soliciting or directing $630,000 of iHeartMedia’s corporate funds to or on behalf of TCP in connection with his 2024 election, Cruz appears to have brazenly violated these federal campaign finance laws, which are crucial to preventing real and apparent corruption in our federal elections, as well as promoting voters’ right to having a meaningful electoral voice through the democratic process.

  • TCP appears to have misreported the money it received from iHeartMedia as “Other Federal Receipts (Dividends, Interest, etc.)” rather than as contributions, in violation of FECA’s requirement that political committees accurately report information about their finances.

Click here to read the complaint.