CLC Files FEC Complaint Against Thornton Law Firm For Illegally Funneling Money to Clinton, Other Democratic Candidates and Committees


FEC Must Investigate Illegal Bonuses Tied to Campaign Donations

WASHINGTON – The Campaign Legal Center today asked the Federal Election Commission to investigate Boston-based Thornton Law Firm for reimbursing partners almost exact amounts for their political campaign contributions. This scheme allowed Thornton to funnel money to campaigns and party committees well above the legal contribution limits.

“The FEC must investigate this scheme,” said Brendan Fischer, associate counsel of the Campaign Legal Center. “Thornton employees made contributions to these campaign and were promptly reimbursed by the firm, allowing the firm to collectively give far more to individual candidates in a single year than the firm could have donated directly under federal law. This appears to be a clear violation of the law and the FEC should take this seriously.”

Lawyers at the firm have given $1.5 million to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) and $333,000 to the Democratic National Committee between 2007 and 2016, as well as contributing significant sums to Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Sen. Chuck Schumer, Sen. Harry Reid, President Barack Obama and Presidential Nominee Hillary Clinton. There is no evidence the recipient candidates knew about Thornton’s scheme and many candidates have returned the contributions.

Based on reports from the Boston Globe and Center for Responsive Politics, the complaint also asks the FEC to investigate Thornton Law Firm partners Michael Thornton, Garrett Bradley and David Strouss for knowingly permitting their names to be used for the straw donor contributions. Between 2010 and 2014 the three partners (and Thornton’s wife) gave $1.6 million to candidates and party committees and were reimbursed $1.4 million in “bonuses” by Thornton Law Firm.