Ethics probe in Ross Spano campaign finance mess extended until November

Ross Spano
The extension subtly confirms it will investigate.

The U.S. House of Representatives’ Committee on Ethics is investigating Congressman Ross Spano, but he won’t know his fate over several complaints leveled against him alleging campaign finance violations for several weeks.

The Committee filed an extension Monday on an ethics probe against Spano, but in doing so revealed it is planning to look into the matter. It’s the first time the committee has acknowledged the complaint, which it doesn’t have to investigate. The committee wrote in a press release it will announce its course of action in the matter on or before Nov. 14.

Spano came under fire after winning election last year after it was uncovered he accepted about $180,000 in loans from friends and then used those loans to fund his congressional campaign.

Under campaign finance laws, candidates can contribute unlimited amounts of money to their own campaigns, but are subject to applicable donation limits from anyone else. Spano borrowed the money and then contributed it to his campaign as if it had been his own money. Campaign contributions limits in that race were $2,700.

Spano later admitted the move was a breach of campaign finance laws, but he has since said he paid the loans back, though no documentation of those repayments exists as of yet.

The Committee’s extension does not mean anything of the group’s eventual determination over the complaints, of which three were filed.

“The Committee notes that the mere fact of a referral or an extension, and the mandatory disclosure of such an extension and the name of the subject of the matter, does not itself indicate that any violation has occurred, or reflect any judgment on behalf of the committee,” members wrote.

Spano is serving his first term in office and is seeking reelection. Two Democrats are vying to replace him, Florida Rep. Adam Hattersley and former Sarasota newsman Alan Cohn. Both are waging their campaigns based heavily on allegations against Spano over the illegal campaign contributions, painting Spano as a corrupt politician.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has also targeted Spano as a top take-over and has been hitting the embattled Congressman over the scandal every chance they get.

Janelle Irwin Taylor

Janelle Irwin Taylor has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in Tampa Bay since 2003. Most recently, Janelle reported for the Tampa Bay Business Journal. She formerly served as senior reporter for WMNF News. Janelle has a lust for politics and policy. When she’s not bringing you the day’s news, you might find Janelle enjoying nature with her husband, children and two dogs. You can reach Janelle at [email protected].


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