Democratic U.S. Rep. Val Demings and her U.S. Senate campaign are the subjects of a new election law complaint charging her campaign took improper soft money support from a Virginia state political committee controlled by former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe.
Americans for Public Trust, a Republican-directed campaign watchdog group, filed the complaint Wednesday with the Federal Election Commission. It charges Demings and her campaign violated the soft money ban in the Federal Election Campaign Act by accepting in-kind contributions of fundraising services from McAuliffe’s committee, Common Good Virginia.
Demings campaign responded by saying the fundraising practice it pursued is legal, well tested, and being widely practiced around the country, while the Americans for Public Trust complaint brought against Demings is frivolous.
The Demings campaign argued the method of solicitation was through email, and federal law and FEC guidances hold that email have no in-kind value. That remains true, the Demings campaign said, even though the emails for Demings were sent by McAuliffe’s committee, presumably using that committee’s email list.
Attached to the FEC complaint are images of several fundraising solicitation emails involving Common Good Virginia, for the dual purpose of raising money for that committee and for Demings’ campaign, and sometimes just for Demings’ campaign. The solicitations come from a Val Demings email address, but include the disclaimer “Paid for by Common Good Virginia” at the bottom. They included hyperlinks to ActBlue, a fundraising portal for Democrats.
The complaint contends Common Good Virginia is a Virginia-based political committee not registered as a federal entity.
McAuliffe lost last week to Republican Glenn Youngkin in the Virginia gubernatorial election.
Demings is one of numerous Democrats running in Florida’s 2022 Senate Primary, but she is the overwhelming early favorite to win the nomination and take on Republican Sen. Marco Rubio in the 2022 General Election. Through Sept. 30, Rubio had raised $19 million, and Demings, who only opened her campaign in May, had raised $13 million.
“By approving and participating in this email solicitation, Representative Demings has accepted an in-kind contribution from an organization not regulated under FECA, in violation of the soft money ban,” the complaint states. It calls on the FEC to conduct an investigation and impose “appropriate sanctions.”
“Demings hitched her wagon to one of the biggest opponents of parent involvement in education, and she appears to have broken the law in the process. As Demings said herself, ‘Nobody is above the law.’ Demings and her campaign must comply with any investigation that follows from these claims,” said Elizabeth Gregory, communications director for Marco Rubio for Senate.
Demings campaign manager Zack Carroll issued a statement responding.
“This is a partisan and frivolous complaint that is completely without merit, as the FEC has already signed off on this common email fundraising practice, which is used by hundreds of Republican and Democratic campaigns across the country,” he wrote.
The complaint cites email solicitations that went out in October, so they occurred after Demings’ most recent campaign finance filings.
The complaint is signed by Americans for Public Trust Executive Director Caitlin Sutherland, a former research director for the National Republican Congressional Committee. It’s brought against Demings, Val Demings for U.S. Senate, and the campaign’s treasurer, Danielle Morgan.
Demings and Rubio already are targeting each other. Both campaigns have aimed specific attacks at each other, not at any of the other Democrats in the field.
She does so in the solicitations paid for by Common Good Virginia.
“Marco Rubio is attacking me, team,” begins one, while featuring a picture of Demings. “First in a primetime interview with Fox News host Sean Hannity and now on Twitter, Rubio is taking pages out of his idol Donald Trump‘s playbook: Divisive rhetoric. Misrepresentations about me. Far-right talking points. He even said he’d ‘Absolutely’ welcome the twice-impeached former president on the campaign trail.”
November 11, 2021 at 7:36 am
Val Demmings is a liberal hack. A typical commie pinko bleeding heart. She needs to find her service weapon that was stolen from her unlocked city vehicle.
November 11, 2021 at 8:10 am
No surprise on Demings political machine tactics. What is shocking is that alliance was formed with a Virginia campaign for Gov.
McAuliffe is a very questionable individual.
The old watergate question, follow the money to the Florida media.
November 11, 2021 at 8:59 am
Gee, how about waiting for the outcome of the investigation?
November 11, 2021 at 9:34 am
Yeah, same as with Congressman Gaetz.
November 11, 2021 at 12:22 pm
Doesn’t speak highly of Demings that “Dementia” Joe picked “Giggles”Harris over her.
November 12, 2021 at 11:51 am
On the contrary, I think it speaks highly of anyone not picked bt Biden, especially “Dementia” Biden. Also, Demmings is better looking than Cackling Kamala.
November 12, 2021 at 12:05 pm
That’s set the bar extremely low.
Bruderly David E
November 11, 2021 at 1:50 pm
Americans for Public Trust should police the Trump staffers who violated the Hatch Act before making frivolous charges against others…
November 11, 2021 at 6:55 pm
This Democrat party hates white males son. Wake up.
November 11, 2021 at 6:43 pm
LOL racist and corrupt.
The following companies, professional sports franchise’s support, fund, Joe Biden, the Democrat party, BLM and other far left organizations. Financial BOYCOTT whenever possible the following socialist enablers. Do your part. Patriots, pass this text along….
*Designates active participant in Biden campaign, BLM.
Bank of America
Ford Motor Co.
Jack in the Box
Johnson & Johnson
Levi Strauss & Co
*State Farm Insurance
The General Insurance
November 13, 2021 at 10:48 am
Heavens the GOP has been looking for months for something to tag onto Val Demings! This is a frivolous complaint and should be treated as such. Many of us in Arizona are backing this lady because we strongly believe her background will be valuable in the Senate!
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