By Jon Dougherty
(NationalSentinel) New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio’s 2020 Democratic presidential campaign is in hot water after being accused this week of multiple federal financial violations.
The non-partisan Campaign Legal Center filed a complaint on Wednesday with the Federal Election Commission alleging that De Blasio’s campaign has violated several federal rules by playing a “shell game” in order to hide unethical pre-financing of the campaign as he was still in an exploratory phase,Â Politico reported.
â€œBy concocting this shell game, de Blasio allowed donors to give above and beyond legal contribution limits by routing money through a federal and state PAC, in apparent violation of federal campaign finance law,â€ the CLC wrote in aÂ statementÂ on its website.
The group notes that a number of wealthy supporters who have donated cash and have given the maximum legal primary amount of $2,800 to the mayor’s 2020 campaign have also given as much as $5,000 to a pair of political action committees that spent money “laying the groundwork for de Blasio’s presidential run” before he actually jumped into the crowded Democratic field.
The CLC said that the shady financial behavior “left voters in the dark about the extent and sources of the candidate’s support,” as “at least 25 donors had exceeded legal limits by nearly 300%.”
â€œFairness PAC and NY Fairness PAC paid for hundreds of thousands of dollars in staff, polling, and travel to early primary states in the months before de Blasio formally announced his candidacy,â€ CLC noted in its statement.
â€œAny expenditures made while â€˜testing the watersâ€™ for a presidential run â€” along with contributions that paid for the expenses â€” must be reported to the FEC, so that the public has a clear view of the facts necessary to properly evaluate candidates for office and to cast an informed vote,” the organization added.
â€œHowever, de Blasio 2020â€™s first report, filed last month, reported some of the testing-the-waters expenditures paid for by the two PACs, but failed to report any of the contributors,â€ it said.
Separately,Â Fox Business reported that the de Blasio campaign is reviewing the complaint but has said in the past money gathered from groups that do not act as official exploratory organs are not subject to FEC rules.
Increasingly, Democratic candidates who have voiced support for “campaign finance reform” are being implicated in violations of campaign finance rules.
The Western Journal has reportedÂ that a PAC with deep ties to freshman Rep.Â Alexandria Ocasio-Cortezâ€˜s New York congressional run came under campaign finance scrutiny in June when a watchdog group accused the campaign of using funds to â€œretire debtsâ€ that did not exist, to the tune of several thousand dollars.
CNN PoliticsÂ also reported the same month that Rep.Â Ilhan OmarÂ of Minnesota would be forced by the state’s Campaign Finance Board to reimburse her campaign committee for $3,500 and pay a fine of $500 for spending state campaign funds on out-of-state travel.
“And freshman Rep.Â Lori TrahanÂ came under intense scrutiny from two watchdog groups who accused her of accepting an illegal donation and failing to report it when she personally loaned her campaign $371,000 to pull ahead in the final weeks of a hotly contested Massachusetts primary, according to theÂ Boston Globe,”Â The Western JournalÂ noted.
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