The watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) has filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission against Herman Cain chief of staff Mark Block over allegations his former group Prosperity USA footed the bill “for tens of thousands of dollars in expenses for such items as iPads, chartered flights and travel to Iowa and Las Vegas” to help get the Cain campaign off the ground.
The complaint, CREW said in a news release, alleges that Block “personally violated the Federal Election Campaign Act by authorizing the illegal corporate contributions as president of Prosperity USA, and then by accepting the illegal contributions as treasurer of Friends of Herman Cain.” CREW says this would make Block “the first person in the history of the Act to have both given and received the same illegal contributions.”
CREW alleges that $40,000 in corporate funds were used to buy iPads as well as pay for campaign trips to Iowa, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Houston and Dallas in early 2011.
“As hard as Mr. Cain is trying to prove himself a different kind of candidate, he still has to play by the same rules as everyone else,” CREW Executive Director Melanie Sloan said in a statement. “It is not sufficient for the Cain campaign to investigate itself. Rather, the FEC - the federal agency charged with enforcing campaign finance laws - must look into the matter.”
Block had said the campaign had brought on an unnamed lawyer as independent counsel to look into the allegations that were first reported by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.