FEC Fines Marjorie Taylor Greene for Violating Election Laws in PAC Advertisement Case

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The Federal Election Commission recently concluded that controversial GOP Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene violated federal election laws in 2019 and 2020 through her political action committee’s advertisements and social media activity.

The Commission found that Greene’s PAC, Greene for Congress, illegally coordinated with another PAC in creating and distributing advertisements supporting her candidacy during her initial run for Congress. The ruling comes after years of allegations that Greene flouted campaign finance rules and called into question the legitimacy of her first election to the House of Representatives.

Improper Solicitation of Funds

The FEC found that Representative Greene violated federal election laws by improperly soliciting funds for the Stop Socialism Now PAC. According to FEC documents, in December 2020, Greene shared a digital advertisement on her official Facebook and Twitter campaign accounts that urged viewers to donate to Stop Socialism Now PAC.

Source: X/Dave Leventhal

As a federal candidate, Greene is prohibited from soliciting non-federal funds. However, the advertisement requested contributions of unrestricted funds to Stop Socialism Now PAC, a super PAC not subject to the strict donation limits imposed on federal candidates. By sharing the advertisement, Greene violated provisions of the Federal Election Campaign Act that bar candidates from soliciting funds not subject to federal regulation.

Watchdog Complaint and Investigation

Common Cause, a nonpartisan watchdog organization, submitted a complaint to the FEC in May 2021 alleging that Greene violated the soft money ban in federal election law by soliciting unlimited contributions. The group argued that as a federal candidate, Greene could only request a maximum of $5,000 from any individual donor for the super PAC and that the PAC was barred from accepting corporate or union donations.

Source: Common Cause

Following an investigation, the FEC found that Greene’s actions warranted a civil penalty. The Commission voted 5-1 to fine Greene $12,000 for violating provisions of federal election law prohibiting candidates from soliciting non-federal funds.

Background on the Complaint Against Greene’s PAC

The complaint alleged Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) solicited non-federal funds for Stop Socialism Now PAC, a PAC aligned with Greene, when she appeared in a digital advertisement posted online in late 2020 and early 2021. The ad contained unrestricted solicitations of contributions to the PAC.

Source: Fairfax County Republican Committee

Because Greene shared the digital advertisement on her official profiles on Facebook and Twitter, the platform formerly known as Twitter, Greene violated the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971, according to the Federal Election Commission (FEC). The Act sets restrictions on fundraising to limit the influence of money in politics.

The Advertisement in Question

The advertisement urged viewers to “rush [their] emergency donation of $5,000, $2,500, $1,000, $500, $100, $50, or even as little as $10 right away.” The ad was first posted on Stop Socialism Now’s Facebook page in early December 2020 and then shared on Greene’s official Facebook page five days later. Greene continued promoting the ad later that month by reposting it, according to the complaint.

Source: YouTube

The FEC found that Greene’s social media activity promoting Stop Socialism Now’s fundraising appeal violated the Act’s prohibition on federal candidates soliciting non-federal funds. While candidates can ask for a maximum of $5,000 from an individual donor for a super PAC, Stop Socialism Now’s ad did not specify any limits, according to critics.

Implications and Potential Penalties for the Violations

The FEC found that Greene violated federal election laws by improperly soliciting funds for a super PAC not subject to the strict contribution limits placed on candidates. According to the complaint, Greene’s promotional social media posts for the Stop Socialism Now PAC breached laws prohibiting candidates from soliciting “soft money” or unlimited donations.

Source: YouTube

For this violation, the FEC issued Greene a $12,000 fine, demonstrating the severity of unlawfully soliciting unlimited contributions. While a nominal fee for some, the penalty signifies the importance of adhering to campaign finance laws and maintaining integrity in elections. T

Damage to Public Trust

Beyond legal and financial consequences, Greene’s actions undermine public trust in the electoral process. When candidates fail to follow established rules, it fosters perceptions of corruption and unfairness. Voters expect elected officials and those running for office to operate with integrity and transparency.

Source: Nathan Congleton

By skirting laws aimed at preventing improper influence, Greene has damaged this trust, which may persist even after paying the requisite fine. The FEC’s decision to penalize Greene may also subject her to heightened scrutiny of her fundraising and campaign activities going forward.

Greene’s History of Controversy

This is not the first time Greene has faced legal issues or violated rules. In a 2022 interview, Greene admitted to accumulating nearly $90,000 in fines for defying rules mandating mask-wearing in the U.S. House of Representatives during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Source: damircudic

Greene’s decision to share the Stop Socialism Now PAC advertisement represented a clear violation of laws intended to prevent the undue influence of “soft money” in elections. By soliciting and promoting unlimited contributions, Greene circumvented regulations on fundraising for federal candidates. T

Responses to the FEC Ruling From Greene and Others

Greene’s legal representatives contended that Greene did not violate federal election laws through her solicitation for the super PAC. They argued their case to the FEC, comparing the ad to a scenario in which a candidate attends a PAC fundraiser, offers general support, and leaves before any fundraising solicitation takes place.

Source: Flickr/Federal Communications Commission

The general counsel for the FEC argued that Greene’s role in Stop Socialism Now in the digital ad constituted a violation, pointing out that the ad included a directive for viewers to “donate now” along with a payment processing link.

What This Means for Greene Going Forward

The FEC’s ruling signifies that Representative Greene will face tighter scrutiny and restrictions on her fundraising activities going forward. Her improper solicitation of “soft money” donations – those unregulated by federal law – is now a matter of public record.

Source: Drew Angerer

Watchdog groups and political opponents are likely to monitor Greene’s fundraising appeals closely to ensure her compliance with election laws and call out any perceived violations. To avoid further legal issues, Greene would be wise to exercise caution in how she promotes and endorses political action committees and other groups not directly affiliated with her campaign.

Impact on Greene’s Reelection Bid

For Greene, the penalty and attendant negative publicity create complications on the campaign trail. Her promotion of Stop Socialism Now provides fodder for critics arguing she fails to follow rules and norms. The legal issues also distract from her policy positions and force her to defend past actions.

Source: Jessica McGowan

Opponents may seize upon the FEC’s ruling to portray Greene as unfit for office or willing to bend laws to suit her aims. Such a narrative undermines Greene’s self-styled image as an outsider fighting against establishment corruption. Her legal troubles, when combined with other controversies like expressing support for political violence, risk alienating moderate voters in her district.

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Sally Reed

Written by Sally Reed

Sally, a dynamic and viral writer, has taken the literary world by storm with her exceptional storytelling prowess. With an uncanny ability to tap into the collective consciousness of her readers, she crafts narratives that resonate deeply and linger long after the last word is read.

Born with a creative spirit, Sally honed her writing skills from a young age, cultivating a unique voice that blends emotion, wit, and social insight. Her work spans a wide spectrum, from poignant short stories that tug at the heartstrings to thought-provoking essays that challenge conventional thinking.

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