US

Election officials probe Marjorie Taylor Greene after she reported $3.5M in un-itemized donations

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia reported raising $4.5 million in just the first six months of 2021. More than $3.5 million comes from small donors, her campaign claims

US election officials have asked Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene to double check her numbers earlier this month after she reported raising more than $3.5 million in campaign contributions so small that she’s not required to itemize them.

A federal election law aimed at protecting the privacy of small-dollar donors states that campaigns don’t have to disclose information about people who give less than $200. 

The number is known as the ‘itemization threshold.’

But the Federal Election Commission (FEC) is questioning how Greene – still in her first term- managed to raise nearly 80 percent of its funding through small donors in six months, the Daily Beast reports.

The Georgia Republican would have to have gotten money from more than 17,500 supporters to hit $3.5 million.  

Because they didn’t reach the $200 threshold, Greene’s campaign isn’t required to make their names, locations or employers public nor how much exactly they donated. 

Her total donations for the same time period amount to more than $4.5 million. 

But she’s not the only one. The FEC made similar inquests into 14 other campaigns.

The majority of notices were sent to Republicans. 

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California was asked last month to explain nearly $800,000 in anonymous cash from late 2020. 

Officials reached out to Texas Rep. Dan Crenshaw in August about non-itemized donations totaling more than $1 million.

According to FEC data from January through June 2021, Crenshaw raised more than $2.8 million that his campaign has not provided information for. 

New York Rep. Elise Stefanik, chair of the House Republican Conference, was questioned about nearly $300,000 in unexplained money.

Two other Republicans, Missouri Senator Josh Hawley and Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz, were flagged for anonymous donations reported earlier this year, but they weren’t asked for an explanation after claiming the numbers were correct.

Democrats were also alerted about their campaign finances by the regulatory agency. 

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California and New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez were each sent letters in August demanding an explanation for more than $1 million each.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi

New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

House Speaker Pelosi and Rep. Ocasio-Cortez were also asked to explain more than $1 million in anonymous donations

Pelosi is consistently one of the top Democratic fundraisers in the country, the Daily Beast noted in its analysis, and Ocasio-Cortez is known for raising significant small-donor dollars from her progressive supporters.

Outside of Congress the FEC pinged Missouri lawyer Mark McCloskey, who plead guilty but was pardoned for charges stemming from waving his gun at Black Lives Matter protesters outside his home in 2020.

Republican McCloskey is running for US Senate in the upcoming election.

Election officials are looking into his first campaign filing and whether he properly reported more than $400,000 in donations less than $200.

The number of small-dollar donations reported has been growing over the years, particularly for Republicans.

GOP candidates have traditionally relied on bigger financial backers, and have faced more reporting issues since embracing a new landscape of eager grassroots donors.

The Federal Election Commission sent 14 campaign notices similar to Greene's since June

The Federal Election Commission sent 14 campaign notices similar to Greene’s since June

The surge in small-dollar Republican donations can be attributed to WinRed, a fundraising platform designed to attract grassroots supporters to Republican causes and candidates

The surge in small-dollar Republican donations can be attributed to WinRed, a fundraising platform designed to attract grassroots supporters to Republican causes and candidates

Experts have attributed that at least in part to WinRed, a Republican fundraising platform that has come under scrutiny over a lack of transparency in its operations and fundraising.

The platform has been accused of under-reporting finances. In March the site was embroiled in an elections inquiry into Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan, who received several notices from the FEC regarding nearly $3 million in unreported campaign funds.

Jordan Libowitz, an official at DC watchdog Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics, told the Daily Beast that ‘people have raised questions of whether these were truly unitemized donations, or whether some donors gave more than $200 and the campaigns wanted to keep the names off of it, or something else untoward.’

But he gave Republicans the benefit of the doubt, noting they may have trouble adapting to WinRed’s platform. 

‘Now suddenly there’s a ton of people giving $20 to candidates, and so maybe they just can’t keep up,’ he said.


Source link

Related Articles

Back to top button