Rep. Ross Spano (R-Fla.) is under investigation by the Department of Justice (DOJ) over allegations of campaign finance violations after accepting about $180,000 in loans from friends and using it for his congressional campaign as if it were his own money, the House Ethics Committee announced Thursday.
Campaign finance laws allow candidates to loan their campaigns any amount of personal funds, but loans from others are considered campaign contributions and limited to $2,700 donations per cycle.
The Ethics Committee, which had been reviewing the allegations since September, said it had agreed to defer the review of the allegations to the DOJ at the DOJ’s request.
“The Department of Justice has asked the Committee to defer consideration of this matter and the Committee, following precedent, unanimously voted to defer consideration of this matter at this time,” the committee said in the release
Spano has said he has since repaid the loans and said on Thursday that his office would cooperate fully with the investigation.
“As I’ve said before, we acknowledged that mistakes were made with respect to the campaign loans, but those mistakes were completely inadvertent and unintentional,” he said in a statement. “We were the ones who self-reported this to the FEC. We are confident that upon review, the Justice Department will see it that way, too. I continue to have doubts about the timing and motive behind this inquiry, as the impeachment proceedings this week have shown me how far the left will go to destroy their opponents. I remain committed to the issues that are important to my constituents.”
An official for the Department of Justice was not immediately available for comment.