Complaint says Val Demings took improper aid from Terry McAuliffe’s committee

Val Demings
Demings' campaign calls complaint frivolous, says fundraising method is common, tested and legal.

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.”

Scott Powers

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at [email protected].


  • Evan

    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.

  • Tom

    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.


  • tom palmert

    November 11, 2021 at 8:59 am

    Gee, how about waiting for the outcome of the investigation?

    • zhombre

      November 11, 2021 at 9:34 am

      Yeah, same as with Congressman Gaetz.

  • Impeach Biden

    November 11, 2021 at 12:22 pm

    Doesn’t speak highly of Demings that “Dementia” Joe picked “Giggles”Harris over her.

    • ally

      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.

      • zhombre

        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…

    • Laura

      November 11, 2021 at 6:55 pm

      This Democrat party hates white males son. Wake up.

  • Jim

    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.

    American Airlines
    American Express
    Bank of America
    Baskin Robbins
    Best Buy
    Carl’s Jr.
    *Capital One
    *Corona Beer
    Dell Technologies
    Delta Airlines
    Discovery channel
    Discovery Plus
    Dunkin Donuts
    Ford Motor Co.
    General Motors
    *Goldman Sachs
    Jack in the Box
    Johnson & Johnson
    Levi Strauss & Co
    Little Caesars
    *Lowes Hardware
    *Modello Beer
    Nerd Wallet
    Rocket Mortgage
    Soda Stream
    *State Farm Insurance
    *Target Stores
    The General Insurance
    Trip advisor
    United Airlines
    US Bank
    USA today
    *Varo Bank
    Wells Fargo

  • Beverly Tencza

    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!

Comments are closed.


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