GOP congresswoman broke campaign finance law, but she wants to keep the money
Federal campaign finance law generally limits individual donations to political candidates to $2,700 for each election the candidate runs in. Practically, this means wealthy supporters can give House and Senate candidates, at most, $5,400 each campaign cycle. But due to her state’s unusual system and a not-very-analogous Federal Election Commission precedent, Rep. Mia Love (R-UT) is seeking to boost that to $8,100 her 2018 re-election — citing a primary in which she did not run.
Thanks to the Republican Party’s assault on federal campaign law enforcement, Love — who calls herself a “tireless advocate of the need for personal accountability” on her official campaign website — will also likely get away with it. While her campaign admitted this week it illegally accepted contributions in excess of the legal limit and did not return them within the 60 day window, it says it plans to effectively keep most of that money.
Brendan Fischer, director of the Federal Reform Program at the non-partisan Campaign Legal Center, told ThinkProgress that he does not think this comports with campaign finance law. But, the agency responsible for enforcing these laws appears to be asleep at the switch.
“I think that if there were a functioning FEC, they’d realize they’d opened a big loophole with the Lee matter and say ‘Once a candidate knows they’re not gonna run in the election, they can no longer keep money raised for that non-existent election,'” Fischer said. However, given that two seats are currently vacant on the six-member Commission and and action thus requires unanimous agreement by the two Democrats and two Republicans, “It seems pretty unlikely the FEC’s gonna do anything about this,” he added.
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