A Republican presidential contender and a big city New Jersey mayor are potential beneficiaries of a similar federal crime, according to a good government watchdog group that has filed complaints against several alleged perpetrators.
In an effort to fight a new, illegal tactic used by super PACs and wealthy donors to circumvent campaign finance law, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) filed complaints with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) against the Marco Rubio-backing Conservative Solutions PAC, the Steven Fulop-backing Coalition for Progress, as well as a pair of sham companies used to launder donations to the super PACs.
The complaints also targeted the disguised donors who illegally attempted to hide their identities.
CREW also filed a complaint against DE First Holdings, which gave a $1 million contribution to the super PAC Coalition for Progress, a New Jersey-based group reported to be supporting Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop.
DE First Holdings was formed the day before making the donation and since it has no known business activity, it is virtually impossible for that million dollars to have come from the company instead of a hidden donor.
On October 26, 2015, Conservative Solutions PAC, which supports presidential candidate Marco Rubio, accepted a $500,000 donation from IGX LLC, a company with no known business activity whose CEO Andrew Duncan later admitted that he was the source of the donation and used IGX to hide that fact, an apparent violation of the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA).
If Conservative Solutions PAC knew that the donation came from Duncan — a circumstance that is unlikely — it also likely violated FECA.
“Super PACs are allowed to accept and spend an unlimited amount of money, and all they have to do is say where that money came from,” said CREW Executive Director Noah Bookbinder. “Without this kind of disclosure, voters don’t have the information they need in order to know and evaluate who is giving huge sums of money to candidates for important offices.”
“If the FEC fails to act here, we may find ourselves in dangerous territory,” Bookbinder added. “It would be open season for illegal donations to be funneled through bogus companies to get around election law.”
The national watchdog group asked the Federal Election Commission to investigate a $1 million campaign contribution made to a dark money super PAC that is supporting Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop’s bid for governor at the same time New Jersey residents are lining up behind a petition demanding full disclosure.
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