A Florida man who provided Sidney Powell’s first website for her Defending the Republic cash cow just got hit with a formal notice to register with the Florida Department of Agriculture’s Department of Consumer Services as a fundraiser.
The entire situation surfaced after a Michigan lawyer named Matt DePerno went onto Steve Bannon’s “War Room” podcast (video below) to pitch a related website and website named Eifftar.org, which stands for Election Integrity Funds For the Republic.”
“We launched a new website…” said DePerno referring to EIFFTAR, “and we are devoting our attention through that fund to raise money for the Arizona audit exclusively without anyone coming in to try to siphon money out and put it elsewhere.”
Patrick Byrne is widely recognized as a main progenitor of the Arizona audits and gave comments on the record for this story indicating that he’s unaware of the EIFFTAR website or any cash contributions from it to his group America Project’s efforts.
The man believed to be behind EIFFTAR and LDFFTAR is Robert R. Matheson, an heir to the Dow Chemicals fortune. He thought to have lived in Palm Beach, Florida, until October when public records show the home he listed as his residence with the Florida Secretary of State sold for over $2.4 million.
Matheson is behind the website ldfftar.org which stands for Legal Defense Fund for the American Republic. He did not respond to emails or texts seeking comment, nor to a voicemail left on the phone number on his clothing domain Robert Redd. Matheson later disconnected that number, preventing follow-up calls for comment.
The EIFFTAR website directs visitors to donate to LDFFTAR.
Amazingly, the Legal Defense Fund for the American Republic calls itself a 501c4 federal nonprofit social welfare organization on its website.
It is not.
A search of the Florida Ag. Department’s Check-a-Charity and Secretary of State’s SunBiz website proved fruitless, and LDFFTAR is not listed in Open Corporates either by its name or the acronym. It simply doesn’t have a listed corporate entity of any sort or a known fictitious name.
We sent the department a request for public records about Matheson on July 9th and12th. The Florida agency just responded today with a copy of a new letter ordering him to register his fundraising operation.
“We are aware of the website/organization known as Legal Defense Fund for the American Republic, AKA LDFFTAR, with the website you provided,” wrote department spokesman Franco Ripple. “This website is also affiliated with Election Integrity Funds for the American Republic, which directs contributions to the Palm Beach-based address of LDFFTAR, and with Foundation for the American Republic, which appears to be a Virginia-based corporation.” He continued:
“None of these entities are registered as charities in Florida pursuant to Chapter 496, Florida Statutes. None of these entities appear to be registered with the IRS except Foundation for the American Republic, which appears to be a 501(c)(3). Therefore, the entities cannot solicit contributions in or from Florida without being registered with our department.”
“Per the above-linked Virginia corporate filing, these entities appear to be affiliated with the individual Robert R. Matheson.”
Our Division of Consumer Services is sending correspondence to Matheson directing these entities to come into compliance with the state charity registration requirements of Chapter 496, which includes providing a full financial statement and/or IRS Form 990 and related schedules.”
“Matheson will have fifteen days to respond.”
The letter isn’t available at the time of publication but will be obtained once it has been mailed. Matheson will be forced to disclose his financial documents, budgets, and control persons for the funds raised. An insider familiar with his operations said that he raised a seven-figure sum for Sidney Powell last year with “tens of thousands of dollars in chargebacks.”
Failure to register with the state before conducting fundraising activities in Florida can result in civil penalties, a cease and desist letter or be a 3rd-degree felony if the refusal is knowing and willing. Raising money from the public under false pretenses can rise to the level of wire fraud, as it did in the case of the WeBuildTheWall Inc. fundraising scam.
Matheson is also at the genesis of the “Kraken releaser” former Trump lawyer Sidney Powell’s efforts to raise money for a series of failed lawsuits. According to The Daily Beast, his Twitter account was suspended last December.
Her domain defendingtherepublic.org—which caused her to get slapped with an administrative complaint by Florida’s charity regulators—originally pointed to ldfftar.org on November 10th, 2020, according to the Internet Archive.
The entire situation surfaced after a Michigan lawyer named Matt DePerno went onto Steve Bannon’s “War Room” podcast to pitch a related website and entity named Eifftar.org
Patrick Byrne has never heard of the group EIFFTAR. He says to his knowledge that the group has NEVER contributed to the Arizona audit, which his group American Project is supporting financially with 70% of the funding for Maricopa County. Now that the audit is looking like a success, in his opinion, suddenly a bunch of “competitive groups are jumping in to take credit and raise money.”
“We know a number of groups out there raising money from the public pretending the cash are going to Maricopa,” says Byrne, “and it’s not.”
When asked to confirm Sidney Powell’s contribution to Maricopa County activities and asked about her recent advertising saying her new fundraising proceeds would go to Arizona, Byrne said that he would decline to comment and added, “no further comment.”
A voice message was left at Matt DePerno’s law firm in Michigan seeking comment for this story, which will be updated if he responds after publication.
Grant Stern is the Executive Editor of Occupy Democrats and published author. His new Meet the Candidates 2020 book series is distributed by Simon and Schuster. He's also mortgage broker, community activist and radio personality in Miami, Florida., as well as the producer of the Dworkin Report podcast. Grant is also an occasional contributor to Raw Story, Alternet, and the DC Report, and an unpaid senior advisor to the Democratic Coalition.