Rep. Spano Admitted He May Have Violated The Law By Reporting Nearly $200,000 In Loans From Friends Was Just His Own “Personal Funds”
Spano hadn’t even taken the oath of office before he admitted he may have potentially violated federal law by engaging in illegal activity related to campaign fundraising.
After being repeatedly questioned by local press, Spano acknowledged borrowing $180,000 from two of his friends and donors and then lending his campaign $167,000 in roughly the same time period. At the time, Spano reported that the campaign loan came from his own “personal funds,” rather than his friends’ money — a violation of campaign finance law.
When originally questioned about the loan, Spano redirected by suggesting it came from his wife’s money and thus was perfectly legal. This obviously was not the case. Not only that, but this potential violation wasn’t revealed until just three days before the election, thanks to Spano being months late in filing his personal financial disclosure.
This scandal has followed Spano into office, prompting bipartisan calls for inquiries by the FEC and House Ethics Committee. Complaints were filed with the FBI over Spano’s behavior.
Spano’s Campaign Potentially Coordinated With A Pro-Spano Super PAC Funded By His Friend, Who Was Then Allowed to Interview Candidates For Spano’s Office
Cary Carreno, a longtime donor and one of the friends at the center of Spano’s campaign financing scandal, also donated money to a pro-Spano super PAC.
Carreno would go on to personally fire Spano’s campaign treasurer, raising questions about potentially illegal coordination.
Carreno’s influence with Spano was again on display when he interviewed candidates for Spano’s Congressional office. Carreno’s involvement in Spano’s office was concerning to staffers who said that Carreno’s involvement was a “red flag.”
Spano Has Received Nearly $65,000 In Corporate PAC Money — And Has Next To No Grassroots Support
Spano has essentially no grassroots support. In the first quarter of 2019, he raised only one single dollar in grassroots donations—which wasn’t even a real donation but rather a test of the system.
The lack of authentic grassroots support begins to explain his reliance on big donors. Spano has taken nearly $30,000 from the financial industry over his short time running for federal office and went right to work for them in Congress by trying to dismantle the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), which protects Florida families from fraud and abuse by Big Banks.