DOJ: Watchdog Groups Again Urge DOJ to Investigate Bush Super PAC Scheme Despite Expected Candidacy Announcement
Today, the Campaign Legal Center joined Democracy 21 in calling on the Department of Justice (DOJ) to follow its own precedent and investigate apparent campaign finance violations by Jeb Bush and his associated Super PAC, despite the fact that the former Governor is expected to announce his “candidacy” on June 15. The letter urges DOJ to investigate whether Bush, and the Right to Rise Super PAC, are engaged in knowing and willful violations of the campaign finance laws, emphasizing that federal law gives DOJ express jurisdiction over “knowing and willful” violations.
Today’s letter reiterates a request made last month to Attorney General Loretta Lynch to exercise her statutory authority to appoint a Special Counsel to conduct the investigation and any prosecutions that the Special Counsel finds warranted. The groups note in today’s letter that in 1996 then-Attorney General Reno established a Campaign Finance Task Force, headed by a lawyer from the San Diego U.S. Attorney’s office, to investigate allegations of illegal fundraising by both the Clinton and Dole campaigns during the 1996 presidential election.
“This is not a ‘no harm, no foul’ situation as there is a growing list of reports of what appear to be knowing and willful violations of campaign finance laws,” said J. Gerald Hebert, Campaign Legal Center Executive Director. “Simply declaring his candidacy does not wipe the slate clean of campaign finance violations by Bush and his Super PAC.”
“FEC Commissioners have publicly admitted that they are either unwilling or unable to enforce the laws on the books, so it is up to DOJ to step in and enforce the laws passed by Congress to prevent corruption and the appearance of corruption. The ongoing pattern of apparent ‘knowing and willful’ violations of campaign finance laws by the Bush shadow campaign gives DOJ express jurisdiction under federal law.”
Hebert added: “These are not hyper-technical, minor matters. These campaign finance violations are a way of avoiding contribution limits aimed at preventing the corruption of our elected officials. These willful violations by Bush and the Right to Rise Super PAC strike at the very heart of our democracy.”
To read the full letter, click here.
To read the memorandum from the Clinton Justice Department, click here.
To read the earlier letter to the Attorney General, click here.