Public campaign finance records indicate that Stockton Rush, the CEO of OceanGate currently stuck on the missing Titan submersible that was running a tourist expedition of the Titanic wreck, has been a consistent Republican donor over the years.
Now a point of caveat here: According to these public finance records, Rush was not a Republican megadonor, but his donations over the years leaned heavily toward Republican candidates.
Federal Election Commission campaign finance filings show a Stockton Rush of Washington state employed by OceanGate giving $1,500 to Culberson for Congress, the principal campaign committee for now-former Republican Congressman John Culberson who represented Texas’s 7th district from 2001 to 2019. Culberson had a 100 percent scorecard rating from the conservative Family Research Council, a 92 percent lifetime rating from the American Conservative Union, and a 4 percent lifetime score from the League of Conservation Voters. Not exactly a RINO.
The FEC also lists donations from Stockton R. Rush III, Stockton R. Rush Jr., and Stockton R. Rush. While the home addresses for these donations are all the same, it’s not clear if these are close relatives or the same Stockton Rush (the employers for these donations vary depending on the specific donation and include “Remote Control Technology, Inc.,” “investor,” and “Mr Oil & Gas Company”). But altogether, those donations are consistently Republican and include George Bush for President in 1979, the Illinois Republican State Central Committee in 1980, Citizens to Elect Rick Larsen in 2022, and friends of Mike McGavick in both 2000 and 2005.
Separately, OpenSecrets filings show Stockton R. Rush donating to Dino J. Rossi, a perennial Republican candidate in Washington state who ran unsuccessfully for governor, United States Senate, and the House of Representatives. Rossi served in the state Senate from 2016 to 2017.
Washington state Democratic consultants told The New Republic they don’t regard these donations as a sign that Rush is anything like a GOP megadonor, just that he leans to the right.
As national attention has shifted to the missing submersible, there has been increasing scrutiny on OceanGate and its top executives. As I reported yesterday, according to court filings, a former employee at OceanGate voiced safety concerns about the Titan submarine that is now missing. The CEO reportedly knew about these safety concerns, and the employee voicing them was fired. That case was settled in court.