No, Drake Wuertz didn't violate campaign finance laws with Biff Busick's donation
Yes, this is a real story I had to look into.
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The other day, in light of an open-ended update on the WWE career of Elias at Fightful Select, for no real reason other than that I thought it was interesting, I quote tweeted the story to add that Elias had donated to Drake Wuertz’s Florida state house campaign. (I had looked up an older version of the donor list and even started drafting a blog about it, but never finished or published it, in large part because I couldn’t get a remotely satisfying answer as to why a bunch of people donated exactly $104.25.) This led to others, like eWrestlingNews, looking up the donor list and releasing a list of names that, among others, included Biff Busick (Oney Lorcan in WWE) under his real name of Christopher Girard. Biff’s presence generated a lot of discussion, speculation, and disappointment, as the consensus was surprise since he didn’t strike a lot of fans and wrestlers as “the type” to donate to a thinly-veiled QAnon candidate from their experiences with him.
Then it got weird.
“A wrestling news site article was brought to my attention online,” Biff posted on Reddit. “I am not a political person. I do not support Qanon or their beliefs. I thought I was just lending money and I did not knowingly donate to Drake's campaign. I know how [people] with those beliefs can hurt people and I don't want to do that to anyone. Sorry, BIFF.” This only further escalated the situation: Whether Biff realized it or not, his statement read as if he was accusing Drake Wuertz of violating campaign finance laws. On Twitter, Biff did add that “It[‘]s clear I'm not a rocket scientist,” but still, given the seriousness of the claim, there was an obvious step to take, which was reaching out to Drake Wuertz via text message.
Though initially combative (“You sure do have a lot of time on your hands,” he said while pointing to the disclaimers on his donor website), Drake came around once I reiterated that since the issue was effectively him being accused of a crime, I had to do my due diligence. “To be clear...when fundraising or asking for contributions, I'm not asking for loans so that is false in and of itself,” he said. “When asking for a political contribution or when someone visits our website to donate, it is with clear knowledge that it is solely for campaign contributions.” In addition to showing me the very clearly outlined disclaimers on his donation page, he also sent proof—a photo of his computer monitor showing the search results for “Girard” in his campaign’s back end on the WinRed political donation platform for Republicans—which showed that Biff had donated through said website:
That answered that question, at least. Even in the event Drake sent a relatively vague text message to Biff soliciting a donation, the legally-required disclaimers from WinRed are so obvious that nobody could accuse Drake of any kind of campaign finance fraud. The next step was to email Biff.
“I haven't spoken to Drake since he was released from WWE,” Biff replied. “I remember back in Jan[uary] or February he was trying to get a hold of me[,] but I wanted to distance my self from him. He sent me a text asking for money to buy a sign or something for his house? I think I remember him saying every little bit helped or something along those lines. Unfortunately[,] I can't find the text from him as I don't save [messages]. I clicked the link in the text and entered my Credit Card info and I gave him $100. Again, it was a stupid mistake on my part. It's a mistake I will never make again.”
Given the specificity of his responses and the genuine shock of so many of his friends that he donated to the campaign in the first place, I’m personally inclined to believe Biff for the most part.
The one exception is that I kind of doubt he’s manually deleting text messages. EDIT: It’s since been brought to my attention, as an Android user, that setting an auto-delete time frame for texts is common among iPhone users. So scratch that even if I didn’t think Biff was lying regardless. Back to the original text: But since he’s admitting that Drake was asking for money for yard signs, which would obviously be for the campaign, it’s not like turning over the actual texts would do anything for or against him at this point. Since there’s no reason for him to lie at that point, this can just as easily be chalked up to not being tech-savvy and, for whatever reason, not thinking his texts are saved by default. (Or, again, using the iPhone auto-delete feature.)
All of that said, there’s a lesson here: Read every disclaimer closely before you donate money to anything. And if you know it’s a political donation? Those are public record. If the recipient is someone whose views you don’t support or even someone whose views you do support but not publicly? Don’t donate. It will come back to haunt you at some point, and “he was nice to me at work” isn’t a particularly compelling excuse.