Rosendale Faces Another FEC Complaint for Donations Over the Legal Limit

Matt Rosendale’s ethical problems keep on coming. This week, End Citizens United filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) against Rosendale for violating FEC regulations by accepting campaign contributions from PACs and individuals over the legal contribution limit after the primary election.

In addition, the complaint cites Rosendale’s multiple reporting violations in his July quarterly FEC report.

Under federal campaign finance law, it is illegal for individuals to donate more than $2,700 in the general election and for committees to give more than $5,000 in the general. But after the June 5, 2018 primary election, Rosendale accepted more than the maximum contribution from dozens of individuals and committees.

I guess we shouldn’t really be surprised by this latest unethical, rule-breaking behavior. He was caught recently “cooking the books” to circumvent the legal limits for contributions in a shady scheme that “looks a lot like money laundering.”

Even if Rosendale’s campaign plans to redesignate these excess contributions to the primary election, they would still be violating campaign finance law because the redesignated contributions would exceed the net outstanding debts.

Rosendale has neither returned nor redesignated the excess contributions, as the complaint notes, and in some cases, the amounts are too high to be legal even under that redesignation.

The complaint requests the FEC to immediately investigate these violations and require Rosendale to refund the excess contributions, prohibit him from any further violations, and issue the maximum fine for such violations.

In the legislature, Rosendale voted against transparency in politics and tried to make it easier for dark money groups to hide their donors. He is even endorsed by Citizens United, the group that essentially opened the floodgates for unlimited corporate spending and dark money in politics.

All of this underscores just how weak a candidate Rosendale is. If you have to violate FEC regulations, bend the law, and break ethics rules to take money from wealthy donors just to stay afloat, it’s pretty difficult to convince anyone you’re a viable candidate with broad support in Montana. Or Maryland.

This latest development in the saga of Rosendale’s ethical challenges is certain to make Montanans wonder if they really want someone to represent them in the U.S. Senate who is willing to break the law, pretends to be a rancher, voted against our veterans, and thinks that allowing even more dark money into our state is a good thing.

Read the full complaint here.

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About the author

Don Pogreba

Don Pogreba has been writing about Montana politics since 2005 and teaching high school English since 2000. He's a former debate coach, and loyal, if often sad, fan of the San Diego Padres and Portland Timbers. He spends far too many hours of his life working at school and on his small business, Big Sky Debate.
His work has appeared in Politico and Rewire.
In the past few years, travel has become a priority, whether it's a road trip to some little town in Montana or a museum of culture in Ísafjörður, Iceland.

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