Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington has filed its complaint with the FEC over that mysterious $25,300 donation made to the US Treasury by Sen. Mary Landrieu’s campaign — framing the issue as one of transparency.
The Landrieu camp continues to refuse to reveal the reason for the donation, citing the need to protect the privacy of the original contributors. That’s prompted CREW to suggest that the campaign may have feared a federal probe into the source of the money.
“We all know politicians don’t give up campaign contributions - much less $25,000 - without a very good reason,” said CREW’s Melanie Sloan. “It appears Sen. Landrieu’s reason may have been to avoid a scandal or, even worse, a federal investigation into some of her contributions.”
TPMmuckraker reported earlier this week that the complaint was in the works.
As CREW explains:
Under federal campaign finance law, the only time campaign committees can transfer an illegal contribution to the Treasury rather than return it to the original donor is when the committee learns the source of the funds: a) is under a Department of Justice investigation or indictment, or b) has been convicted for making illegal contributions. Even in such cases, a campaign committee must make the contributor’s identity public before turning the money over to the Treasury.
CREW’s complaint alleges that because there has been no suggestion of an ongoing Justice Department investigation into illegal contributions to the Landrieu campaign, the committee improperly turned the money over to the Treasury.
You can read the complaint here (pdf).
“Our campaign finance laws were designed to ensure transparency,” said Sloan. “Sen. Landrieu cannot ignore a law she finds inconvenient simply to save herself the embarrassment of acknowledging she received illegal campaign contributions. If Sen. Landrieu did nothing wrong, she has no reason not to come clean with the American people and explain why she turned over $25,000 in contributions to the Treasury.”