Several high-profile Republicans in Congress have come under scrutiny from federal elections officials in recent months, amid a record wave of unitemized, small-dollar contributions to GOP candidates.
Those who've received notices from the Federal Elections Commission include Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, House GOP Chair Elise Stefanik and Texas Rep. Dan Crenshaw, according to a report from the Daily Beast.
The FEC has sent a total of 14 such notices since June about contributions of less than $200 that don't meet the "itemization threshold," allowing campaigns to keep information about donors private. The FEC notices simply ask the campaigns to check their books and make sure the numbers are accurate.
"If the past is any precedent, all the campaign will need to do is say yes, and that will be it," the Daily Beast reported. "At issue is a rule governing the privacy of small-dollar donors, who have been giving to Republican campaigns in record numbers—sometimes unwittingly. ... As Republicans increasingly cash-in on low-dollar fundraising efforts, the FEC has been asking GOP campaigns more and more questions."
Greene's campaign reported that it received $3.5 million this year in small-dollar contributions, or 80 percent of its total, from 17,700 anonymous individual donors. Others who've received the notices from the FEC include Missouri GOP Senate candidate Mark McCloskey, who recently pleaded guilty to weapons charges after waving guns at Black Lives Matter protesters outside his home last year.
Former FEC Commissioner Ann Ravel told The Daily Beast that the small-dollar contribution rule has become "a concern" and is "an element of potential fraud."
However, even left-leaning watchdog groups believe the underlying increase in small-dollar donors is "a good sign for democracy." Democrats who received the FEC notices include House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
Jordan Libowitz, a spokesman for Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, said he would "much rather have my politicians sponsored by three million people giving $1 than one person giving $3 million."
According to the Daily Beast, much of the increase in small-dollar donations can be traced to candidates' use of online fundraising platforms WinRed and ActBlue.
Back in July, attorneys general in four states began looking into the platforms — "specifically seeking information about the use of prechecked boxes to enroll contributors in recurring donation programs that spurred a wave of fraud complaints and demands for refunds last year," the New York Times reported.
"The letters were sent in late April, shortly after a New York Times investigation showed how the Trump operation had deployed — and then obscured with extraneous text — prechecked boxes that automatically enrolled contributors into recurring donation programs, taking out money as often as every week. A second prechecked box took out what the campaign called a "money bomb" donation," the Times reported.