Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington
16 Feb 2007 // Washington, DC – Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) has filed complaints with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) against the campaign committees and treasurers for Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK), Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart (R-FL) and Rep. Marilyn Musgrave (R-CO). The complaints ask the FEC to investigate all three for failing to properly report contributors to their campaigns. The complaint against Sen. Coburn addresses violations committed during the 2004 election cycle, while the complaints against Rep. Diaz-Balart and Rep. Musgrave cover the 2006 election cycle.
All three campaigns demonstrated a pattern of illegal conduct by failing to properly identify their contributors in the days leading up to the election.
The Federal Election Campaign Act requires candidate committees to file reports identifying contributors who donate more than $200. It also requires campaign committees to file, within 48 hours of receipt, the identity of any contributor who gives $1,000 or more within 20 days of an election (“48-hour reports”). In violation of these provisions, Sen. Coburn, Rep. Diaz-Balart and Rep. Musgrave all waited to identify some of their contributors until well after the election.
· Coburn for Senate failed to file, within 20 days of 2004 primary and general elections, an astonishing 202 48-hour reports for a total of $349,100 in contributions that exceeded $1,000. CREW learned of these violations on January 25, 2007, when the FEC released the results of an audit of the campaign committee.
· Lincoln Diaz-Balart for Congress failed to disclose the identities of 32 contributors who gave a combined total of $11,800. Notably, one of the contributions the committee failed to report was made by the husband of Rep. Ileana Ros –Lehtinen (R-FL). Because the FEC investigated Rep. Diaz-Balart’s 1998 campaign committee for the same type of violation, it appears that the 2006 violations may be deliberate.
· Musgrave for Congress consistently failed to disclose the identities of contributors throughout the 2006 election cycle in four consecutive reports. After receiving each report, the FEC asked Musgrave’s committee to provide the identities of contributors, but the committee failed to respond to two of those requests until after the election. The committee also failed to file ten 48-hour reports for a total of $18,491 in contributions.
CREW Executive Director Melanie Sloan said, “Campaign finance laws are not optional. By law, candidates are required to file certain reports with the Federal Election Commission. If candidates don’t want to comply with the law, they shouldn’t run for office.” Sloan continued, “Campaigns are not entitled to hide the identities of their top donors until elections are over. Voters have a right to this information and the FEC should come down hard on campaigns that refuse to provide it. One has to wonder what these candidates were trying to hide from their constituents.”
The complaints and supporting documents are available at CREW’s website.
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) is a non-profit legal watchdog group dedicated to holding public officials accountable for their actions.
For more information, please visit www.citizensforethics.org or contact Naomi Seligman Steiner at email@example.com.