Watchdog accuses Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown of campaign finance violations

 May 24, 2024

Longtime Ohio Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown is set to square off in November against Trump-backed Republican businessman Bernie Moreno.

Yet in addition to battling Moreno, Brown will also have to fight off charges from a watchdog group that he violated campaign finance rules. 

Two violations alleged

According to the New York Post, that accusation has been put forward by the Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust (FACT).

It lodged a complaint with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) on Wednesday which names Brown along with the Democrat Party of Ohio, the Ohio Grassroots Victory Fund joint fundraising committee, and the Friends of Sherrod Brown campaign committee.

The complaint alleges two potential violations of the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 as well as FEC regulations.

The first involves FACT's contention that Brown and his allies sought contributions for the senator's Democratic primary race "long after Ohio’s primary election occurred, despite the campaign having had no apparent primary election debt."

Fundraiser ad appeared more than a month after primary election

As evidence, FACT's filing features an image of an ActBlue fundraising page, said to be from May 8--more than a month after Ohio's March 19 Democratic primary.

"There is reason to believe that Sherrod Brown and Friends of Sherrod Brown’s continued solicitations of funds for an election that has long ago occurred, when the campaign had no debts outstanding from the election, may have resulted in several violations of FECA and FEC regulations," FACT's filing states.

Regarding its second allegation, FACT asserts that language on the page suggests contributions to the Ohio Grassroots Victory Fund of up to $10,000 would be exclusively spent on Brown's reelection effort.

"Contributions to Ohio Grassroots Victory Fund will fund our get-out-the-vote and voter turnout operation to get Sherrod across the finish line this November," FACT quoted the website as stating.

Group seeks "appropriate sanctions against Brown and his agents"

The organization thus insists that "there is reason to believe" some contributors to the joint fundraising committee thought "their funds will be spent on the party's 'get-out-the-vote and voter turnout operation,' explicitly for Sherrod Brown."

It therefore contends that "all amounts contributed to the state party through the Brown [joint fundraising committee] must be deemed general-election contributions to Sherrod Brown."

FACT concluded by calling on the FEC to investigate Brown and "seek appropriate sanctions against Brown and his agents for any and all violations."

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