By Dan Christensen, FloridaBulldog.org
Republican Marco Rubio, the top US senator from Florida, has been in office for more than a decade. You would think by now that he and his minions would have read, understood, and complied with federal campaign fundraising law.
To win a third six-year term, Rubio has raised a total of $34.7 million through June 30, according to records compiled by the Federal Election Commission. His main opponent, Democratic Orlando Congresswoman Valdez “Val” Demings, reports total receipts of just over $43 million during the same period.
Ahead of the Nov. 8 election, some experts predict that total fundraising for the two candidates combined could reach a staggering $100 million.
The job of a US senator brings in $174,000 a year.
Marco Rubio for the Senate, his top campaign committee, raised the bulk of his war chest — $27.2 million in contributions and transfers from other authorized committees.
In late June, the Federal Election Commission sent Marco Rubio for the Senate a letter warning him of his acceptance of more than 2,000 contributions that appeared to exceed federal contribution limits. These tens of thousands of dollars of prohibited contributions are detailed over 52 pages.
IT’S NOT OUR FAULT
The FEC asked the Rubio committee to amend its reports to provide additional detail on those contributions that were “incompletely or incorrectly” disclosed as “essential to full public disclosure.”
In an Aug. 1 response letter, campaign treasurer Lisa Lisker admitted to taking the illegal donations and explained that some were fired, renominated for other elections, or referred to committees who then sent them for redistribution.
Plus, Lisker basically said it’s not our fault.
“Please note that the Committee receives contributions from multiple sources and cannot monitor donors who continually give beyond the limits. The Committee blocks online contributions from donors who have given the maximum amount allowed by law, but do not may prevent these donors from giving through alternative sources,” Lisker wrote on Aug. 1.
Translation: Rubio’s committee blames its joint fundraising committee, Rubio Victory Committee, for accepting excessive contributions. Rubio Victory reports raising $1.7 million of his total contributions.
Unfortunately for Rubio, however, FEC regulations require both his campaign committee and the joint fundraising committees to screen contributions to ensure that the joint fundraising committee does not accept contributions from donors who have already maxed out their donations. (Individuals and political committees are generally limited to donating $2,900 per election to candidates in federal elections.)
Rules regarding the onerous but necessary record-keeping requirements for fundraising by political committees are set forth in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR).
“The fundraising representative and participating committees must screen all contributions received to ensure that the prohibitions and limitations of 11 CFR Parts 110 and 114 are adhered to,” the code reads. “Participating Political Committees [like Marco Rubio for Senate] must make their contributor records available to the Fundraising Representative to enable the Fundraising Representative to fulfill their duty to screen contributions. »
Lisker offered the same excuse for the Rubio campaign’s acceptance of a handful of banned corporate contributions.
Rubio’s headache here is that the same person, Lisa Lisker, is the treasurer for his joint fundraiser Rubio Victory Committee and his campaign committee, Rubio for the Senate. It seems then that Lisker, Rubio’s longtime campaign treasurer, should know when funds are coming in if federal contribution limits are exceeded.
Lisker is the owner of Huckaby Davis Lisker Inc., based in New Alexandria, VA. For 34 years, the firm has performed political finance advisory and compliance work for Republican candidates, national and state party committees, political action committees, according to Lisker’s LinkedIn profile.
The next move belongs to the FEC. In her June letter to Rubio’s Senate campaign, financial analyst Mary Seiler wrote, “While the Commission may take further legal action regarding the acceptance of excessive contributions, your prompt action to reimburse or redesignate and /or reallocating the excessive amount will be considered. .”
Even though his Senate campaign continued to garner contributions, Rubio’s failed presidential campaign in 2016 remains in debt. In February, Florida bulldog said he still owed more than $800,000 to the sellers.
Val Demings for the US Senate had his own issues with the FEC.
On July 17, the FEC sent Demings’ campaign a warning letter about its acceptance of seemingly excessive contributions, adding that it could pursue further legal action if things are not properly addressed. The FEC list spans 30 pages and also involves tens of thousands of dollars.
The response from the Demings committee is expected on August 22.