May 15, 2024 News & Press Releases

Staunton News Leader: Cao Used Super PAC Money To “Get On Fox” 

by DPVA Press

Richmond, VA – According to a new report from the Staunton News Leader “after months of dodging questions,” Hung Cao is now finally responding to questions about his scam PAC and the answers don’t add up.  

Cao has now admitted that he used the money meant to go to other Republican candidates on himself, including promoting himself on Fox News and Newsmax.  

This damning report follows a previous report from the Staunton News Leader found that an “analysis of Unleash America’s expenditures shows no support of any kind, in-kind or otherwise, for Virginia’s Republican candidates, though that’s what Cao promised his PAC would do, over and over in 2023.” 

“Hung Cao can’t escape the lingering questions about his scam PAC, and even Republicans know that Cao’s pattern of lies and deception won’t go away,” said DPVA Press Secretary Kelsey Carolan. “No matter what new pathetic excuse he comes up with, Hung Cao broke his promise to Virginians because the only person he cares about is himself.”  

Read more below: 

Staunton News Leader: Candidate for U.S. Senate in Virginia responds to super PAC allegations, misuse of funds 
Elizabeth Beyer 
May 9, 2024 

  • After months of dodging questions, embattled Republican candidate for U.S. Senate Hung Cao addressed allegations that he misrepresented how money raised by the Unleash America super PAC would be spent. 
  • Instead of explaining why the money raised by the super PAC did not go to Virginia Republican candidates for state office in 2023, Cao called the report that prompted the allegations a “hit job” by “the left," on Tuesday's episode of The John Fredericks show, a live conservative radio and TV show. 
  • Cao later appeared to say that he used the money raised by Unleash America to “get on Fox, I used that to get on NewsMax talking about national security issues.” 
  • Cao said he was “out of the super PAC by May” of 2023. In fact, a memo from his Senate campaign legal counsel said that Cao resigned from the PAC on June 15, 2023. 
  • USA Today had repeatedly emailed, called, and texted Cao’s Senate campaign and had emailed the treasurer listed on Unleash America FEC filings since early February to get answers regarding the PAC’s expenditures. No response, aside from a memo sent to USA Today from Cao's campaign through an intermediary, was provided. 
  • How much money was raised by the super PAC and where did it go? 
  • When Cao launched Unleash America in February 2023, the super PAC had one stated goal: To get Republicans elected during Virginia’s 2023 statehouse contests to support Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s agenda, as reported by the Staunton News Leader and USA Today. 
  • The PAC raised $103,489 in individual contributions from around the country, which Cao called a “minimal amount” in his Tuesday interview with Fredericks. Cao’s principal U.S. Senate campaign committee, Hung Cao for Virginia, contributed $45,000 to the super PAC, for a total of $148,489 raised by Unleash America between January and December 2023.   
  • After Republicans lost the House of Delegates in Virginia and failed to flip the Senate, analysis of Unleash America’s expenditures showed no support of any kind, in-kind or otherwise, for Virginia’s Republican candidates. 
  • In his interview with Fredericks, Cao said “a lot of the money was reimbursed.” However, according to Federal Election Commission filings, money raised by Unleash America was paid to people who worked on Cao’s failed 2022 Congressional campaign as well as his current bid for the U.S. Senate. 
  • "Start up costs a lot, you have to have lawyers, you have to have compliance people you have to have start up fees, so a lot of the money was moved over from the old campaign to keep it alive," Cao told Fredericks on Tuesday, apparently referring to the cost to launch his bid for the U.S. Senate. 
  • About $12,500 of the money donated to Unleash America was spent on legal fees, according to FEC filings. 

  • Another $37,514 from the super PAC was paid to John Ryan O’Rourke. O’Rourke is Cao’s 2024 Senate campaign manager and was his campaign manager during his 2022 bid for Congress. In the same year that O’Rourke received payment from Unleash America, he also received $96,168 from Hung Cao for Virginia, Cao’s Senate campaign committee. 
  • Another $22,867 of Unleash America’s money went to K2 & Co., a communications firm Cao had employed during his 2022 Congressional campaign and also during his 2024 Senate campaign. K2 & Co. was paid $15,000 by Cao’s Senate campaign on October 3, 2023. 
  • The super PAC also paid $29,403 for list rentals, $18,576 for digital fundraising, $6,398 in meeting and lodging expenses as well as bank fees and $3,904 in earmark fees to WinRed, a fundraising arm of the Republican Party. 
  • Did Cao give any money to Virginia’s 2023 candidates? Not through the super PAC. 
  • While FEC filings show that Unleash America did not contribute any of the $148,489 it raised to Virginia’s Republican candidates in 2023, records kept by OpenSecrets and show that Cao may have contributed roughly $1,140 to four different candidates in 2023 outside of the super PAC. 
  • Hung Cao for Virginia, Cao’s principal Senate campaign committee, donated $240 to Virginia Sen. Mark Obenshain; $200 to Lee Peters III, who was a candidate for House of Delegates District 65; and $200 to Del. Chris Obenshain. 
  • According to, a person named Hung Cao donated $500 to Juan Pablo Segura, a candidate for Virginia's 32nd Senate District, though it is unclear if that donor is the Cao currently seeking the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate.