Rep. Madison Cawthorn, RN.C., spent campaign funds earmarked for the general election and cannot repay the donors, according to a recent report. The controversial Republican, who lost his principal bid in May, may be violating campaign finance rules.
A report from Saturday’s The Daily Beast revealed that Cawthorn’s campaign had spent all of the money earmarked for its general campaign during its failed primary offering and that the campaign is unable to return the donations. His campaign reportedly had “twice as much debt as the target had cash.” An anonymous source described the spending as “outrageous”.
Cawthorn not only spent his primary election funds, he also spent general election funds. The problem is that candidates can’t spend general election funds unless they win their primary.
Cawthorn’s campaign has about 2% of the $3.7 million they’ve raised since January 2021 — about $137,000 in cash and $325,000 in debt. Spending includes $1,500 for Chick-Fil-A and $21,000 for housing in Florida.
The expenses include hundreds of thousands of consulting fees for Cawthorn’s friend and campaign manager, Blake Harp. Cawthorn also allegedly paid Harp over the federal limit for campaign managers.
Now, under the Campaign Funding Act, Cawthorn’s campaign has to pay back all of that money, but it hasn’t been able to. Some of the people he owes money to include fellow Republicans Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California.
The federal election commission will also fine the campaign for disclosing the debt a week late.
Cawthorn, 26, could face further consequences if he persists in not paying, said Jordan Libowitz, communications director for Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington.
However, Cawthorn has a few options to stay out of trouble. He could ask some of his biggest donors for his campaign to pay back those who donated to him. He could also use his own money to pay off debt and repay donors. Cawthorn could run again and launch a new campaign to raise the money, but his list of allies is thin amid multiple scandals that have cost him primary election support.
Cawthorn lost his re-election bid to Chuck Edwards, a state senator.
https://www.ibtimes.com.au/cawthorn-illegally-spent-donors-money-report-shows-1834088?utm_source=Public&utm_medium=Feed&utm_campaign=Distribution Report shows Cawthorn illegally spent funds from donors