Olson’s firm’s website says it practices in campaign fundraising. The firm, William J. Olson P.C., says it specializes in “negotiation of fund raising agreements; review of fund raising solicitations; compliance with federal, state and local charitable solicitation laws; participation in the federal government’s Combined Federal Campaign.”
FEC records show that since the 2016 presidential election, Olson’s firm has been paid just over $160,000 by at least two different PACs for what is described on all the forms as “legal fees.” The clients gave no further description of what his firm did for those committees, which legally can spend and raise an unlimited amount of money.
One of the PACs that paid Olson’s firm changed its name after the 2016 election, to the Stars and Stripes Forever PAC from the 2016 Committee. The group backed Carson during the Republican primary and then Trump when he faced Hillary Clinton in the general election.
The 2016 Committee spent $5 million supporting Carson, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. It shelled out a combined $1 million in the general election backing Trump over Clinton.
John Philip Sousa IV, who runs the PAC and is the great-grandson of the bandleader who composed “The Stars and Stripes Forever,” says Olson still represents the PAC, which plans to stay active during the 2022 midterm elections.
“He was/is our attorney and kept us out of trouble with the Feds,” Sousa said regarding Olson in an email on Wednesday. He did not respond to follow up emails asking for specific examples of what Olson did for the PAC. He noted that his definition of “Feds” in this case was the FEC.
Sousa’s PAC spent over $115,000 supporting Trump during the 2020 election and another $48,000 opposing Biden, CRP data says.
A top donor the organization during the 2016 election was Julianna Hawn Holt, who was chairman and co-CEO of Spurs Sports Entertainment, the company that owns the NBA’s San Antonio Spurs.
Mother Jones previously reported that Sousa ran a PAC supporting former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio when he successfully ran for reelection in Arizona in 2012. Trump pardoned Arpaio in 2017 after he was convicted of criminal contempt for defying a judge’s order to stop detaining immigrants because they lacked legal status.
Olson’s firm was also paid for legal work by the Hispanic Victory PAC, filings say. CRP data shows the group spent over $40,000 backing Cruz in 2018 and just over $30,000 against O’Rourke.
The former chair of the Hispanic Victory PAC did not return an email seeking comment.