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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Bush faces more accusations over campaign finance law



For the second time this month, a liberal group has accused Jeb Bush’s campaign of violating election law.

The latest FEC complaint from American Democracy Legal Fund argues that two Bush backers — Fred Cooper and Emil Henry — helped raise money for Bush’s campaign but also participated in a super PAC “soft money event by providing in-kind contributions for catering at such events to raise money to support Mr. Bush’s federal candidacy.”

“Additionally, public reports indicate that three individuals – Kris Money, Trey McCarley, and Debbie Aleksander – simultaneously worked as fundraisers for Jeb 2016, Inc. and Right to Rise,” the complaint reads.

While people can wear “two hats” in some circumstances, the complaint reads, FEC “precedent has not been extended to permit an agent of a candidate to raise soft money when that soft money will be used to aid the candidate on whose behalf the agent is working.  Indeed, the Commission has stated that even if an agent has been explicitly instructed not to raise soft money on behalf of a candidate, his or her solicitation of soft money is still imputed to the candidate. Therefore, when an agent of a presidential candidate solicits soft money contributions for a single-candidate Super PAC supporting the presidential candidate, the individual is inherently raising soft money in his or her capacity as the candidate’s agent in violation of federal law.”

The last complaint, one in a string of accusations against Bush’s fundraising machine, said Bush may have violated law by financing testing-the-waters activity through his Right to Rise super PAC.

Bush’s campaign has not responded to either complaint. Officials have insisted they are following the law.

The FEC is deadlocked with three Democrats and three Republicans and few see an aggressive enforcement effort.

[Last modified: Tuesday, September 29, 2015 9:24pm]


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