Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) has been hit with a pair of federal ethics complaints over a debacle in which she — seemingly illegally — muddled the pools of resources for political communications. The complaints were filed by the political action committee (PAC) known as End Citizens United, which lodged its filings with the Federal Elections Commission (FEC) and the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE).
End Citizens United President Tiffany Muller commented as follows:
‘Congresswoman Greene has shown a blatant disregard for the law and is engaging in corrupt Washington practices. Using her leadership PAC in an attempt to get around federal law and regulations is both unethical and illegal. Both the FEC and OCE should immediately begin an investigation and hold her accountable for her self-serving and shady practices.’
As summarized by End Citizens United, the complaint with the FEC “states that Congresswoman Greene violated campaign finance laws by using her leadership PAC, Save America Stop Socialism PAC, to make an in-kind donation to her campaign committee above the legal limit of $5,000.” An “in-kind donation” is a donation that has value but is not in the form of actual money. In this instance, the in-kind donation was an ad backed by Greene’s leadership PAC that was nearly identical to an ad that her own campaign ran. As End Citizens United explains, ‘[Under] FEC regulations, when a leadership PAC pays for “coordinated communications,” and the campaign uses it, the campaign must report it as an in-kind contribution.’ And as mentioned, the value of that contribution can’t legally surpass $5,000, which it did here.
Notably, the Greene campaign didn’t even report the ad that her leadership PAC ran as an in-kind contribution, violating federal rules yet again. As for the complaint against Greene with the Office of Congressional Ethics, it “notes that Congresswoman Greene used her campaign committee and leadership PAC for official activities; in this case, opposing a piece of legislation,” as End Citizens United summarizes. (That’s what the ads were for: opposing a particular piece of legislation.) “Under federal law, members of Congress cannot use outside sources of money to fund their official government activities,” End Citizens United explains — meaning that Greene appears to have run afoul of the law by using her campaign’s private resources for work that could be deemed official. The ads “explicitly opposed a specific piece of legislation and lobbied supporters against the bill,” End Citizens United notes.