Sunday, August 19, 2007

Lincoln Hates the Law

He apparently doesn't care much for campaign finance law...


Lincoln Diaz-Balart for Congress failed to disclose the identities of 32 contributors who gave a combined total of $11,800. Notably, one of the contributions the committee failed to report was made by the husband of Rep. Ileana Ros –Lehtinen (R-FL). Because the FEC investigated Rep. Diaz-Balart’s 1998 campaign committee for the same type of violation, it appears that the 2006 violations may be deliberate.

Miami New Times:

The FEC audit of the Diaz-Balart campaign, however, reveals an operation with little regard for federal election laws. The report describes a stunning array of campaign finance violations and stupid mistakes, all discovered largely without the help of an evasive and uncooperative Diaz-Balart staff. Auditors cite dozens of illegal campaign contributions, missing cash, bookkeeping errors amounting to hundreds of thousands of dollars, and failure to report a variety of monetary receipts and expenditures. To top it off, aides never produced all the records and documentation requested by auditors.

Despite its disturbing contents, the audit has never attracted much public attention, and even Diaz-Balart's worst enemies don't deceive themselves into thinking the congressman's campaign finance irregularities will tarnish his bright political prospects. This past May Diaz-Balart agreed to pay a $30,000 fine, to come from his abundant campaign funds. (The FEC did not announce the penalty until July 18.) In February of this year, the campaign paid a $5500 fine for filing late disclosure reports. While the $30,000 fine is considered "steep" compared with other FEC enforcement actions against congressional campaigns, it is far less than the $100,000 to $200,000 some political insiders had been predicting and believed was appropriate -- and which is closer to the scale of the violations cited by the FEC.