Demings Hit With FEC Complaint For Allegedly Violating Federal Law

Demings Hit With FEC Complaint For Allegedly Violating Federal Law

Mona Salama
Mona Salama
|
November 10, 2021

Americans for Public Trust has filed a complaint Wednesday with the Federal Election Committee (FEC) against Florida Democrat Val Demings and Val Demings for U.S. Senate campaign over allegations the campaign violated the federal “soft money” ban.

According to the complaint, Americans for Public Trust argues that Demings accepted an “in-kind contribution” from Common Good Virginia, a non-federal political action committee, violating “soft money ban” under Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA). The PAC, set up by former Democrat Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe in March 2014, sent numerous email fundraising solicitations last month, raising political funds for Demings’ Senate campaign committee.

The numerous fundraising email solicitations sent by McAuliffe’s PAC explicitly states “Paid for by Common Good Virginia,” and the hyperlinks directed donors to a hyperlink with the same message. According to the complaint, the requested contributions split “between itself and Val Demings for U.S. Senate.”

Common Good Virginia PAC is non-federal that is not subjected to “federal limitations, prohibitions, or reporting requirements,” but the funds its raises are considered a “soft money organization for purposes” under the FECA. Demings, who is challenging incumbent Republican Sen. Marco Rubio for the job next year, is specifically prohibited from receiving funds in connection with an election unless the funds are subject to FECA regulation.

Since the PAC is non-federal, the solicitations from the email fundraiser and the funds raised are considered by FECA as a “soft money organization.” However, Demings violated the soft-money ban by “approving and participating” in the PAC email fundraising and accepted parts of the “in-kind contribution” from an organization not regulated under FECA.

“These fundraising solicitations, which were paid for by non-federal funds, represent an illegal use of non-federal (or ‘soft’) funds to raise money for a candidate for federal office,” the complaint reads. “As such, Representative Demings’ campaign has accepted an in-kind contribution and thereby violated the federal soft money ban.”

The Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 defines that a federal candidate shall not “solicit, receive, direct, transfer, or spend funds in connection with an election for Federal office, including funds for any Federal election activity unless the funds are subject to the limitations, prohibitions, and reporting requirements of this Act.” The exception is it’s not from “sources prohibited by this Act from making contributions in connection with an election for Federal office.”

Under the FEC regulation, a federal candidate is not allowed to “solicit, receive, direct, transfer, spend, or disburse funds in connection with an election for Federal office, including funds for any Federal election activity unless the amounts consist of Federal funds that are subject to the limitations, prohibitions, and reporting requirements of the Act.”

The Americans for Public Trust filed the complaint with the FEC requesting an “immediate investigation” under both the FECA and FEC regulations cited in the complaint and “impose appropriate sanctions” for accepting the illegal contributions.

When contacted by The Floridian, the FEC said it does not comment on complaints and pending litigations.

Rubio’s campaign team called on Demings to “comply with any investigation that follows from these claims.”

“Demings hitched her wagon to one of the biggest opponent of parent involvement in education, and she appears to have broken the law in the process. As Demings said herself, ‘Nobody is above the law.’ Demings and her campaign must comply with any investigation that follows from these claims,” Rubio’s Senate campaign communications director Elizabeth Gregory said in a statement following the revelation.

Mona Salama

Mona Salama

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