The Justice Department is apparently conducting a criminal investigation into alleged campaign finance irregularities by the 2018 congressional campaign of U.S. Rep. Ross Spano, R-Dover.
The House Ethics Committee and the Federal Election Commission are already investigating the circumstances of loans to Spano’s campaign that he acknowledges may have violated campaign finance laws.
The committee revealed in September that it was investigating the case, but announced Thursday that “the Department of Justice has asked the Committee to defer consideration of this matter.” It gave no further details.
However, committee press releases have used the same language in the past in at least two cases of members of Congress who were investigated and charged with criminal offenses – Duncan Hunter of California and Michael Grimm of New York.
Complaints to the Federal Elections Commission and the Office of Congressional Ethics have alleged that Spano borrowed $180,000 from two friends and illegally loaned the proceeds to his campaign, saying it came from his own personal funds.
Spano has acknowledged his campaign financing may have violated the law, but said if so, it was a mistake caused by incorrect consultant’s advice.
However, two of Spano’s 2018 opponents, Democrat Kristen Carlson and Republican primary opponent Neil Combee, have said they wrote to the FBI alleging that Spano, a lawyer, knowingly violated the law and asking for a criminal investigation.
In a statement posted on his website, Spano repeated that the violations were unintended and hinted at a political motive by “the left” behind the investigation.
“We plan to cooperate fully with the Justice Department on this matter. As I’ve said before, we acknowledged that mistakes were made with respect to the campaign loans, but those mistakes were completely inadvertent and unintentional. … We are confident that upon review, the Justice Department will see it that way, too.
“I continue to have doubts about the timing and motive behind this inquiry, as the impeachment proceedings this week have shown me how far the left will go to destroy their opponents.”