BREAKING: Campaign Legal Center Files Complaints with FEC, OCE Against Florida Candidates for Violating “Soft Money” Ban
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, Campaign Legal Center (CLC) filed complaints with both the Federal Election Commission (FEC) and Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) concerning Representative Aaron Bean, and with the FEC concerning former congressional candidate Kelli Stargel. The complaints allege that Bean and Stargel each transferred $1 million or more in state campaign funds to federal super PACs supporting their respective 2022 congressional campaigns in Florida — which is in direct violation of the soft money ban in federal campaign finance law.
Federal candidates, their agents and any entities that they establish, finance, maintain, or control are prohibited from using “soft money” — including funds raised by state PACs that are not subject to federal contribution limits and reporting requirements — to support campaigns for federal office.
Rep. Bean and Ms. Stargel each established their respective state PACs, which raised millions of dollars on their behalf over the better part of a decade, before transferring $1 million or more in contributions from them to their respective federal super PACs during the 2022 election cycle.
Significantly, both state PACs received over six figures worth of contributions from federal contractors, which are prohibited from contributing to federal campaigns or super PACs — a prohibition designed to prevent “pay to play” style corruption and its appearance.
“Federal candidates are increasingly funneling 'soft money' raised through state PACs into federal committees, in direct violation of the law,” said Saurav Ghosh, director of federal campaign finance reform at Campaign Legal Center. “Soft money is a serious problem in our federal elections, and it threatens to derail the important electoral protections that federal campaign finance laws provide. The actions of Kelli Stargel and Rep. Aaron Bean are part of a widespread pattern of federal candidates blatantly violating these laws, which are designed to ensure that our federal campaign finance system is fair, free from corruption, and transparent.”
CLC has filed complaints against both candidates with the FEC and an additional complaint against Rep. Bean with the OCE, which has jurisdiction over sitting members of Congress.
The FEC and the OCE have a duty to investigate these alleged violations and enforce the law to protect the integrity of our elections and maintain voters’ trust in the electoral process.