Election 2024

Homophobic GOP Senate candidate spent thousands in donor money on strip clubs & shoes

Homophobic GOP Senate candidate spent thousands in donor money on strip clubs & shoes
Royce White on his podcast Please Call Me Crazy Photo: Screenshot YouTube

Last Saturday, the Minnesota GOP voted overwhelmingly to endorse Royce White — an avowed conspiracy theorist, homophobe, and misogynist — for the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate.

Along with that considerable baggage, White carries a long list of probable campaign finance violations into his primary and the general election — if he’s the nominee — against popular, LGBTQ+ ally Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D) in November.

White, 33, made a national name for himself by leveraging his fame as an NBA basketball player for the Houston Rockets and his leading role in the Black Lives Matter protests following the 2020 murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, where White grew up.

But now, as a Black darling of the far-right MAGA crowd and a true believer of former President Donald Trump, Royce has broadened his political ambitions. His past missteps and a history of abusive attacks — including social media posts calling people “f*g,” “c*nt,” and “r*tard” among them — are catching up with the 6’8″, 260-pound athlete.

In 2022, White, with the backing of mentors like former Trump advisor Steve Bannon and anti-LGBTQ+ conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, made a bid for the U.S. House seat in Minnesota currently held by “squad” member Rep. Ilhan Omar (D). He lost in the primary.

But you’d never know it based on his campaign expenses, which continued to pile up even after White lost.

A week after his defeat, White’s campaign used donor funds to pay a bill topping $1,200 at the Gold Rush Cabaret in Miami, a “full liquor and full nude” strip club 1,800 miles from the congressional district he just lost in, according to reporting by The Daily Beast. The charge went through at five in the morning.

But the strip club outlay is just one questionable expense in a mountain of unexplained payments to vendors over the course of White’s campaign that would make even George Santos’ treasurer blush.

The questionable expenses include more than $100,000 in mysterious wire transfers and checks, reported as paid to the campaign; huge tabs at a long list of late-night hot spots; thousands paid to limo services and swank hotels in at least seven states; unexplained cash withdrawals; and purchases of shoes, clothing, and electronics that beg for an explanation that isn’t purely personal.

“Misusing campaign funds can be a serious criminal offense — many politicians have gone to jail for diverting donor funds to personal expenses,” Brendan Fischer, a specialist in campaign finance law and deputy executive director of Documented, explained. “A close read” of White’s spending “suggests an incredibly long list of illegal expenditures.”

Among the brands that the White campaign spent lavishly on: Heimie’s Haberdashery, K&G Fashion Superstore, New Balance (“shoe purchase for door knocking”), Nordstrom, Nike, Asos, Express, Crocs, and Lululemon.

White’s donors reportedly footed the bill for more than $3,200 in purchases at Guitar Center, more than $2,500 at Dick’s Sporting Goods, and more than $700 at Sally Beauty stores in two states.

When asked about his post-election strip club expenditure, White told The Daily Beast, “I like the food there.”

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