IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.
Republican presidential candidate Miami Mayor Francis Suarez in Des Moines, Iowa, on July 28, 2023.
Republican presidential candidate Miami Mayor Francis Suarez in Des Moines, Iowa, on July 28.Charlie Neibergall / AP

Suarez denies Chinese involvement in super PAC contribution

A complaint to the FEC alleges a foreign national may have been behind a big contribution to the group in 2022.


DES MOINES, Iowa — Miami Mayor Francis Suarez denied this weekend that a Chinese national was behind a half-million dollar contribution to the super PAC backing his presidential campaign.

The denial comes after a complaint filed with the Federal Election Commission alleges a 2022 contribution made to the super PAC, SOS America, came from a straw donor.

“As far as I know. Yes, I can say definitively that China has not contributed to any super PAC of mine,” said Suarez.

The complaint stems from a $500,000 contribution from a company called “PassionForest, LLC,” which sells artificial flowers on Amazon’s e-commerce platform.  The Campaign Legal Center, a nonprofit government watchdog, filed the complaint with the FEC alleging a trademark for PassionForest LLC was filed by an applicant reportedly living in China.

“Voters have a right to know who is spending money to influence their votes and our government,” Saurav Ghosh, the Campaign Legal Center’s director of federal campaign finance reform, said in a statement about the complaint.

Straw donors, who mask their identity through another entity or somebody else’s name, are banned by the Federal Election Campaign Act. And federal law prohibits foreign nationals from contributing to campaigns, PACs, and super PACs.

“I have every expectation that every political contribution that has been received by that committee is done properly and appropriately,” said Suarez. “We live in a very litigious society where people are constantly complaining.”

It’s not the only controversy surrounding Suarez and finances as he runs for president. The Miami Herald reported Suarez doubled his net worth to $3.4 million during his time as mayor, leading critics to speculate he used his office for personal profit. Suarez, who makes $130,000 in salary as mayor, also has additional sources of income, including as an attorney and corporate consultant.

In an interview with NBC News in early July, Suarez said, “I’ve done well, and I’m not going to apologize for doing well.”

“I’ve never used my position inappropriately to have any sort of financial gain.”