Quantcast

Rick Santorum accused of soliciting illegal campaign contributions

By Scott Kaufman
Thursday, August 15, 2013 10:27 EDT
google plus icon
Rick Santorum screenshot
 
  • Print Friendly and PDF
  • Email this page

Rick Santorum, who in January of 2012 opposed legislation to repeal the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision on the grounds that it would be “horrible,” today finds himself accused of soliciting and accepting a campaign contribution whose questionable legality is a product of that very decision.

The Court’s decision allowed for the creation of super PACs like the the Red, White and Blue Fund, which the Sunlight Foundation reports was “founded by a former [Santorum] campaign staffer [and] ultimately spent about $7.5 million to blitz the airwaves and contact voters on Santorum’s behalf in various states’ primaries before he bowed out of the race in April.”

According to Sunlight, a 69-year-old energy oil executive from Louisiana by the name of Bill Doré told Santorum that he wanted to give him $1 million, far in excess of the $2,500 limits on individual contributions to primary and general elections. He could, however, contribute as much as he wanted to a nominally independent super PAC on one condition: that the candidate himself neither implicitly nor explicitly request a donation in excess of those legal limits.

Directing a contribution in excess of those limits is precisely what the unwitting Doré accused Santorum of doing.

When Sunlight’s reporter expressed surprise at his comments, Doré insisted that he didn’t “want to get [Santorum] in any sort of problem” because he “would not want to compromise his future.” He then tried to walk back his initial statement, claiming that Santorum had asked him to contribute the sum to the Republican Party, an equally compromising proposition given that $30,000 is the ceiling for such contributions. He then confirmed it was the super PAC to which Santorum had directed his donation.

At least until a few hours later, when he backtracked again, claiming that upon further reflection, it was an aide to the former Senator — and not the man himself — who told him about the super PAC. “Did he actually tell me that?” Doré asked, “I don’t think he did.” This last statement neatly conforms with the strictures of the Citizens United decision, rendering the $2.5 million Doré contributed to the Red, White and Blue Fund super PAC an unsolicited and, therefore, wholly legal donation.

On Wednesday, the Campaign Legal Center and Democracy 21 filed a joint complaint with the Federal Election Commission against Santorum and “other person(s) affiliated with and acting as agents for” him, charging that his interaction with Doré constitutes a solicitation of funds in excess of $5,000. Santorum’s spokeswoman Virginia Davis responded to the Huffington Post article about the suit via email:

“We have not received a copy of the complaint and when we do, we will refer it to our attorney. We are confident that neither Sen. Santorum nor any campaign staff member solicited funds in excess of the federal limits or from sources prohibited under federal law.”

A link to the complaint was included in the article to which Davis responded.

Scott Kaufman
Scott Kaufman
Scott Eric Kaufman is the proprietor of the AV Club's Internet Film School and, in addition to Raw Story, also writes for Lawyers, Guns & Money. He earned a Ph.D. in English Literature from the University of California, Irvine in 2008.
 
 
 
 
By commenting, you agree to our terms of service
and to abide by our commenting policy.
 
Google+