GOP Congressman Under Criminal Investigation For Campaign Finance Irregularities
Politico reported on Thursday that Rep. Ross Spano, a freshman congressman from Florida, is under investigation by the Department of Justice over possible campaign finance violations stemming from last year’s midterm elections.
The Republican reportedly accepted $180,000 in personal loans from two friends and subsequently loaned nearly $175,000 of that money to his campaign. Candidates are permitted to loan their own money to their campaigns, but because the funds initially came from his friends, Spano was in violation of campaign finance law.
News of the DOJ investigation came when the House Ethics Committee announced it would defer its own probe into the matter to law enforcement while the criminal investigation is pursued, as is standard practice in such situations.
Spano’s attorney informed the Federal Election Commission of the errant loan shortly after news reports made the mistake public and his client had won the election, Politico reported, acknowledging that the congressman “had misreported the source of the funds and filed updated campaign-finance reports.”
In a statement released by his office, Spano said: "Today, the House Committee on Ethics deferred their review of my self-reported filings with the FEC. 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 were the ones who self-reported this to the FEC. We are confident that upon review, the Justice Department will see it that way, too.”
He also suggested that the DOJ investigation was somehow linked to the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump:
“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. I remain committed to the issues that are important to my constituents.”