Ultra-MAGA House Candidate Charged With Felony Crime For Corruption


A failed candidate for Congress in the Republican primary to take over the House seat left vacant by Mark Meadows after he joined Donald Trump’s White House team has been charged with a felony criminal offense of violating federal rules for campaign finance.

Specifically, Lynda Bennett, who ultimately lost to Madison Cawthorn, was accused of accepting contributions for her campaign in the name of someone other than who actually contributed the money, although a court filing available in the case doesn’t specify the contributor’s identity beyond noting they were Bennett’s relative. Bennett has agreed to a guilty plea in the case. The contributions totaled $25,000, which is well beyond even the combined total that individuals were allowed under federal law to contribute to a single campaign across a primary and general election. The sparse filing doesn’t include the identity used to conceal the source of the funds, although POLITICO notes candidates are permitted to loan their own campaigns unlimited amounts, perhaps suggesting that’s the route Bennett took to initially evade scrutiny.

There also could have been multiple false names used, perhaps. The language of the charge is that she knowingly and willfully accepted the money rather than necessarily making the false contributions herself. It doesn’t seem it came in at once, since the filing says the money totaled $25,000 across 2019. In her primary bid, Bennett received support from Meadows himself and Trump.

Interestingly, a report in Mother Jones recently suggested someone associated with the campaign of first-term New York GOP Congressman George Santos could face scrutiny under what might be this law. The outlet found multiple donations to the Santos campaign for his unsuccessful run in 2020 were made with potentially false personal details. Some of the money was even falsely attributed to a friend of Santos who separately provided a smaller donation. In another case included in the report, thousands of dollars in donations were claimed from two individuals with the last name Regor who ostensibly lived at an address in New Jersey that doesn’t exist. The outlet also found no record of individuals with those specific names living in the United States.

The federal Justice Department is investigating Santos. A report from The Washington Post recently outlined how personnel there asked that the Federal Election Commission (FEC) delay any of its own enforcement action ensnaring the Congressman, providing priority to prosecutors. The department also asked that federal agency, which handles federal matters of campaign finance, to provide a series of potentially related documents tied to Santos.