A complaint filed October 16, 2016 with the Florida Elections Commission alleges criminal violations of state campaign finance laws by state PACs affiliated with Congressional Candidate Matt Gaetz.
According to the complaint, as much as a third of the money reportedly spent by North Florida Neighbors, a federal super PAC supporting Gaetz was funneled to the federal PAC from state PACs controlled by Gaetz or close Gaetz associates despite having been warned by regulators that these transfers violated Florida law.
The complainant, Deborah Nelson, wrote in the complaint of her concerns that because Gaetz was able to use this money, “voters received skewed information levels during the campaign, which impacted their ability to make an informed choice at the polls”
The complaint goes on to assert that “due to the fact that all 3 PACs list the same person as Treasurer at some point; and that two of the transfers were made after the State organizations dissolved; it appears that there was a coordinated effort to deceive the Division of Elections which demonstrates a deliberate, intentional pattern of conspiracy and contempt for the law.”
The complaint makes several key allegations:
- The Gaetz affiliated PACs made expenditures to a Federal PAC even after being warned by regulators that the expenditures were not allowed and promising to not make that type expenditure again?
- That the state PACs took advantage of a weakness in the state reporting system that allowed them to hide the transactions.
- That the state PAC never attempted to get the refund of their contributions to the federal PAC despite implying that they had.
- That all three organizations were run at various times by Gaetz close associates and that their spending patterns suggest a level of coordination prohibited under Florida Law.
If the Commission rules that the law has been violated, because of the amounts of money involved, fines could result in multi-year prison terms as well as up to a million dollars in fines.
Below is a copy of the complaint along with the supporting documents submitted to the Florida elections commission.