Ethics watchdog claims DNC Chair Tom Perez broke the law

Ethics watchdog claims DNC Chair Tom Perez broke the law
Barack Obama, Thomas Perez (Image: Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Tom Perez’s tenure as the Chairman of the Democratic Party has gotten off to a bad start.

First, he was criticized for his frequent use of profanity in his Party Unity Tour speeches. Then he got knocked by his own party for doing a lousy job of fundraising, a primary responsibility of a party chair.

Now a watchdog group, The Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust (FACT) has filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission alleging that Perez mishandled the leftover campaign funds from his race for DNC Chairman.

FACT has asked the Federal Election Commission (FEC) to investigate campaign violations by the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and its Chairman, Tom Perez. FACT’s complaint maintains that DNC Chairman Tom Perez illegally transferred funds from his campaign account used to fund his chairman’s race to pay off the debts of his former opponents.

In 2016, Perez established “Team Tom,” an organization under 26 U.S.C. § 527 in order to raise money and make expenditures in his race to become DNC Chairman. A month after being elected DNC Chair in February, 2017, Perez used over $27,000 in campaign funds to pay off the debts of his former opponents (Jamie Harrison, Jehmu Green and Sally Boynton) who dropped out of the chairman’s race and later supported Perez’s candidacy. Campaign finance laws stipulate that national party committees and their agents are prohibited from using non-federal funds. Since funds raised and spent by “Team Tom” were non-federal funds and Chairman Perez directed those funds to his former opponents while in his official capacity at the DNC, both the DNC and Perez broke multiple campaign finance laws.

“The laws applicable in this case exist to prevent political extortion and corruption, which is why the Supreme Court has explained the importance of the Act’s applicability to national party committees and party officers,” said Kendra Arnold, Executive Director, Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust (FACT). “Therefore, we are calling on the FEC to immediately investigate and enforce the law because allowing this behavior to go unpunished opens the door for a new level of corruption in party elections, namely offering campaign cash for support from former opponents,” Arnold added.

Fox News spoke to leaders of FACT and the DNC:

“The laws applicable in this case exist to prevent political extortion and corruption, which is why the Supreme Court has explained the importance of the Act’s applicability to national party committees and party officers,” FACT Executive Director Kendra Arnold told Fox News. “Therefore, we are calling on the FEC to immediately investigate and enforce the law because allowing this behavior to go unpunished opens the door for a new level of corruption in party elections, namely offering campaign cash for support from former opponents.”

But DNC spokesman, Michael Tyler, denied the allegations.

“These allegations are completely without merit, filed by an organization that exists solely to file partisan nuisance complaints against Democrats that are working to help the American people,” Tyler told Fox News.

Perez has a history of crossing ethical lines. For example, he violated the Federal Records Act 34 times while working for the Department of Justice. One would suppose that the Democrats, which is ethically challenged, must have known what they were getting when they elected him to be their chairman but simply didn’t care.

To some, this may seem like a small point, but knowledge of election law is important for each party to avoid corruption. This new complaint from FACT adds a whole new dimension to problems for a party facing an internal battle between the leftists and extreme leftists, an aging leadership, and a lack of cash due to poor fundraising.

The full complaint filed by FACT may be read here.

Cross posted at The Lid

Jeff Dunetz

Jeff Dunetz

Jeff Dunetz is editor and publisher of the The Lid, and a weekly political columnist for the Jewish Star and TruthRevolt. He has also contributed to Breitbart.com, HotAir, and PJ Media’s Tattler.


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