Bernie Sanders just recently received a gigantic endorsement that may have honestly put him right back in the 2016 presidential election race. LUCHA is a huge Latino rights organization from Arizona who is firmly on Sanders’ side, and the news of their backing is fantastic for his campaign. A day makes a huge difference though, and now the Feds are investigating illegal campaign contributions that may have brought in thousands.
A warning from the Federal Election Commission (FEC) was issued to Bernie Sanders regarding certain problems with the February finance report for his campaign. This all comes right on the eve of the South Carolina primary for the Democratic party, and as he continues traveling and campaigning.
— Jeff Zeleny (@jeffzeleny) February 26, 2016
The National Review states that thousands of illegal campaign contributions were accepted by Sanders’ campaign. The money has been requested to be returned, and if it isn’t, then legal action could end up being taken.
In the letter, which was first revealed by the Washington Free Beacon, there is a spreadsheet with all the details of close to 3,500 “excessive, prohibited, and impermissible contributions.” They were collected by the Bernie Sanders’ campaign during the month of January.
The reported was filed on Feb. 20, and the FEC sent the letter to Sanders’ campaign on Thursday requesting more information.
“Failure to adequately respond by the response date noted above could result in an audit or enforcement action.”
Bernie Sanders’ campaign has until March 31 to respond with an answer to the FEC’s letter.
Michael Briggs is the spokesman for Sanders’ campaign, and he is making this matter out to be lighter than it is. He said these inquiries are typical and quite “standard” so they aren’t overly shocked by it. They will address the questions from the FEC, and aren’t surprised considering that January report was 85,391 pages and listed more than 120,000 separate contributions.
“Inevitably there are questions that the FEC staff will have.”
Adding credibility to that statement from Briggs is that this is not the first time the Sanders’ campaign has had a run-in with the FEC.
Earlier in February, the FEC had sent another letter regarding other illegal contributions received by the campaign. These came in the last quarter of 2015 and were numbered at more than 1,300 which are still being looked at and checked out.
For the same time period and filing frame, the campaign of Hillary Clinton submitted an 18,642-page reported regarding their campaign contributions. As of Friday afternoon, the FEC had not sent out letters or found any fault with that report.
Briggs still insisted that this was normal.
“This happens all the time in campaigns, and the FEC’s rules explicitly allow 60-days from receipt of an over-the-limit contribution for campaigns to remedy the excessive portion of the contribution.”
Overall, this may not have a huge effect on Bernie Sanders or his campaign to be the Democratic candidate in the presidential election. Still, it’s something that will have a lot of potential voters will take notice of, and even if they don’t fully understand, it will concern them.
The 2016 presidential election season is in full swing and the South Carolina primary for the Democratic party is on Saturday night. It is expected that Hillary Clinton will take that state, but Bernie Sanders is gaining momentum in other states. Still, a campaign receiving possible illegal contributions and being investigated by the Feds isn’t going to help matters.
[Image by John Gress/Getty Images]