According to Politico, the non-partisan Campaign Legal Center filed a complaint Wednesday with the Federal Election Commission alleging the New York City mayor’s presidential campaign has violated multiple federal rules by playing a “shell game” to hide unethical pre-financing of the campaign while the candidate was still in the exploratory phase.
“By 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,” the CLC wrote in a statement on its website Wednesday.
They believe several wealthy supporters gave the max of $2800 to de Blasio’s 2020 campaign and donated up to $5000 to two PACs that spent money for de Blasio’s presidential run before he officially announced.
And the CLC said this 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%.”
“Fairness 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,” CLC wrote.
“Any expenditures made while ‘testing the waters’ for a presidential run — along with contributions that paid for the expenses — 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.
“However, de Blasio 2020’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,” it added.
This is not the first time in recent memory that Democrats who claim to be so supportive of “campaign finance reform” and getting money out of politics have been accused of committing serious campaign finance violations on the campaign trail.
Feshman Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez‘s New York organization is accused of using funds to “retire debts” that did not exist, to the tune of several thousand dollars after her congressional run.
CNN Politics also reported in June that Rep. Ilhan Omar of Michigan would be forced by the Minnesota 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.