The Federal Elections Commission has notified State Senator Bob Gibbs (R), who is challenging Congressman Zach Space, that he must return over $50,000 in donations because they exceeded the lawful maximum donation amounts under federal law. As BSB already noted, that’s around 25% of Gibbs’ most recent cash-on-hand total.
Over half of that amount is based on donations made by the Ohio Republican Party. And despite getting a massive amount of apparently, illegal, donations from the Ohio GOP, Gibbs was still facing a 6:1 cash-on-hand disadvantage to Space.
Two weeks ago, I noted how the NRCC had left the Space/Gibbs match off their initial ad reservation for the last few weeks of the election. This tells me what I’ve been hearing privately for over a month: the GOP is taking this race off their radar this cycle. Despite their believe that the demographics favor Republicans and the environment could not be better, Gibbs emerged from the primary too damaged, too unknown, and too broke to run a serious campaign against Space.
The Space Campaign wasted no time to bounce:
After Bob Gibbs broke federal law by accepting illegal campaign contributions from one of his campaign staffers, the Federal Elections Commission (FEC) has now uncovered 15 additional instances in which Gibbs is in violation of federal law. The 16 separate instances in which Gibbs took illegal contributions add up to a total of $50,467.01 – all of which must now be refunded, per FEC rules.
“Bob Gibbs is showing that he’ll do anything – even break federal law – to prop up his desperate campaign,” said Andrew Ricci, spokesman for Zack Space. “Gibbs’ blatant disregard for other peoples’ money is absolutely shameful. After raising taxes on every single Ohioan, Gibbs used taxpayer dollars to pay his campaign’s expenses, and now we’re learning that his campaign is being mismanaged and is in clear violation of federal law.”
“It’s time to tell Go-Along Gibbs that enough is enough,” Ricci continued.
The Gibbs campaign had 60 days – all of which have now passed – to reattribute or redesignate the contribution. After the initial 60 days, amounts in excess of the allowed limits must be refunded, according to federal guidelines and the attached letters from the FEC. If the Gibbs campaign has not already taken action on these 16 violations, nearly ¼ of their cash on hand was contributed illegally and must be returned. The FEC has given them until September 28 to comply, though further enforcement action by the Commission – including hefty fines – is possible.
I don’t think these kind of violations move votes, except I do know it’s harder to get your message out if you have to blow 1/4 of your Cash-on-Hand with only weeks left in the campaign on campaign refunds.