We’re not campaign finance experts, but we think Charlie Crist pulled an oopsie when he named his new Political Action Committee after himself. Simple reason: Federal law doesn’t allow it.
Former Republican Gov. and now Democratic Congressman Crist opened “Charlie Crist PAC” Monday, calling it “a Leadership PAC.”
In doing so, Crist – or his money people – forgot the distinction in federal campaign finance law between “authorized” and “unauthorized” committees.
“No unauthorized committee shall include the name of any candidate in its name,” the law says, and unauthorized committees are PACs which raise funds primarily to make contributions to other candidates.
That’s typically the purpose of so-called “leadership” PACs.
So watch for the letter from the Federal Election Commission telling Crist to change the name.
Charlie Crist PAC has also captured the attention of nonpartisan watchdog group Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust, a nonprofit organization promoting accountability, ethics, and transparency in government and civic life.
Matthew Whitaker, FACT’s Executive Director, says: “Congressman Crist is no stranger to ethical problems, and this blatant campaign finance violation further demonstrates that he thinks he operates by one set of rules while asking his constituents to abide by another. We are calling on Representative Crist to immediately fix this violation, and failure to do so in a timely fashion will result in a FACT complaint to the FEC. Campaign finance laws exist to ensure that our elected officials are serving the people’s interests, not using politics to promote their own self-interests.”