Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) filed a Federal Election Commission (FEC) complaint today against Martinez for Senate, the principal campaign committee of Sen. Mel Martinez (R-FL), alleging multiple egregious violations of the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA) and FEC regulations.
The complaint is based primarily upon the Commission’s recent audit on April 17, 2007 of Martinez for Senate, which revealed that the campaign committee failed to comply with the most basic disclosure provisions of FECA and FEC regulations. During the course of the ten-month campaign, Martinez for Senate received no fewer than three written warnings from the Commission.
The FEC’s Audit Division found that Martinez for Senate violated several statues by failing to disclose occupation and/or employer information for an astonishing forty-six percent (46%) of the individuals who contributed to the campaign, and by failing to provide any contributor identification information at all for approximately $320,000 in contributions.
The Audit Division also found that Martinez for Senate accepted $313,325 in excessive contributions. Virtually all of those illegal funds were spent by Martinez for Senate in order to win the 2004 general election when, in fact, they should not have been available for use. Additionally, in the twenty days before the 2004 general election, Martinez for Senate received, but failed to disclose, $140,514 in contributions.
Melanie Sloan, executive director of CREW, said today, “The violations committed by Martinez for Senate are unprecedented in both size and scope.” Sloan continued, “Basically, Mel Martinez broke the law in order to win an election. Now, years later, he is a sitting Senator and the chairman of the Republican National Committee. A failure by the FEC to severely sanction the Martinez for Senate campaign committee will demonstrate that violating the law pays.”