A recently launched PAC that sought to push former Fox News host Tucker Carlson to run for president has ceased activities after a legal threat from Carlson’s lawyer.
Carlson’s lawyer, Harmeet Dhillon, sent the PAC officers a cease-and-desist letter Monday.
“Mr. Carlson will not run for President in 2024 under any circumstances, and therefore your misrepresentations are damaging to Mr. Carlson and defrauding his supporters,” Dhillon wrote in the letter, obtained by The Hill. “If you do not immediately cease and desist your efforts to solicit money to ‘draft’ Mr. Carlson, we will use every legal means at our disposal to vindicate his rights and protect his supporters from these misrepresentations.”
Dhillon added that the PAC did “not have Mr. Carlson’s permission or support to use his name, image, or likeness in your efforts,” accusing them of doing so “for your own benefit” to later sell donor lists, and that taking funds would lead to donors’ “disappointment and frustration.”
The threat came just days after the PAC unveiled its first ad, which was set for a weeklong run on Newsmax. The ad praised Carlson for mocking “woke nonsense” and asserted that “no one is more articulate and pins down leftists in both parties.”
Following the letter, the Draft Tucker PAC said it asked Newsmax to pull the Draft Tucker PAC ads currently running on the network.
“Tucker’s attorney has contacted us to let us know that Tucker is not a candidate for president nor has any intentions of running and asked us to cease all activities on his behalf. We are going to honor that request,” spokesman and GOP consultant Charlie Kolean said in a statement.
Chris Ekstrom, the PAC’s chairman and one of its financial backers, told The Hill that the effort had raised just $212 online so far and that he put in $35,000 of his own money. He said that the PAC will either give the $212 raised to a charity that Carlson supports or refund it to those who contributed.
“I’d like to add that I am TOTALLY OPPOSED to SCAMPAC’s & have NEVER profited (unlike Harmeet) from my political activities,” Ekstrom, a former congressional candidate in Texas and GOP donor, said in a text message. “Indeed, I have spent a great deal of money exposing the narcissistic perfidy rampant in Republican politics. Especially at the so-called “top”; which, in reality is a abysmal SEWER of losers, weaklings & liars.”
Ekstrom took aim at Dhillon – who unsuccessfully tried to unseat Republican National Committee (RNC) Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel earlier this year.
“We assume Carlson expressed his wishes through this ridiculous Wanna Be Failed Politician & TV lawyer,” Ekstrom said, calling Dhillon a “failed politician that wouldn’t know or understand a good political move unless it’s the immediate gratification of grandstanding for fools & know-nothings on Twitter.”
“The facts do not line up. Carlson is a PUBLIC FIGURE & might have been subject to a political Draft movement at anytime. I now regret lifting a finger to assist her quixotic attempt at RNC Chair. She might have been WORSE than Ronna!” Ekstrom said.
Carlson has repeatedly said that he would not run for president, but his influence on the right led some of his fans to hope he would make a bid for the White House.
“On behalf of Tucker Carlson, we are pleased that this unauthorized use of his name and likeness to raise funds and gather data from his supporters, has been brought to an end without the need for litigation,” Dhillon said in a statement. “Mr. Carlson looks forward to sharing his new projects with the public in the near future.”
Ekstrom and Kolean had previously told The Hill that they hoped Carlson would move the GOP presidential primary field — particularly former President Donald Trump and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis — further to the right.
“We hoped that a Tucker candidacy would open the Overton Window to the Right,” Kolean said in the statement. “We wish Tucker the best & profoundly hope he will not be silenced in this crucial presidential cycle. We consider Tucker Carlson to be the heir of Fearless Rush Limbaugh who never backed down from defending his people.”
Updated May 23 at 5:20 a.m.