Senator Mark Udall, who yesterday had to apologize for his use of beheaded Americans as a political shield in his weekend debate with Republican opponent Rep. Cory Gardner, has been hit with an accusation of a campaign finance violation.
What Senator Mark Udall did, which was caught on camera by Revealing Politics, is a rather blatant violation of the Federal Elections Commission rule which bans the practice of federal candidates soliciting non-federal funds. While a named guest at a fundraising event for State Representative Crisanta Duran, Chairwoman of Colorado’s powerful Joint Budget Committee and rumored contender for House Majority Leader, Udall took to the stage and promptly reminded the attendees to pull out their checkbooks to help send Rep. Duran back to the Colorado State Legislature.
Compass Colorado used the recording of Sen. Udall’s violation as the basis for a complaint with the Federal Elections Commission. Kelly Maher , Executive Director of Compass Colorado, said in a press release, “It’s ironic that the same man who is trying to pass new laws about campaign finance can’t seem to follow the law currently on the books.”
Team Udall would have been well advised to look to the Federal Elections Commission’s FAQ page on Non-Federal Fundraising by Federal Candidates before asking his fellow Democrats to pull out their checkbooks:
5. I’m hosting a fundraising event for a state candidate and am going to solicit donations from corporations and labor organizations at the event. May a federal candidate or officeholder give a speech at my fundraising event?
Yes. Federal candidates and officeholders may attend, speak at, and be featured guests at nonfederal fundraising events. (11 CFR 300.64(b)(1).) What federal candidates and officeholders may NOT do is to solicit nonfederal funds at any time.
Sen. Udall is, as I noted at the beginning of this post, in a reelection bid against Rep. Cory Gardner. While the latest polling in Colorado showed little movement, the Gardner campaign is well within striking distance of Sen. Udall. Team Gardner seized upon Sen. Udall’s offensive, nay, obscene use of Steve Sotloff and James Foley as political cover for his reluctance to take the fight to ISIS.
When reached for comment on the complaint by Compass Colorado, Alex Siciliano, the Communications Director for Cory Gardner, said the “apparent violation of federal election law is appalling.” He went on to note that “[t]he level of hypocrisy from Senator Udall is simply unbelievable, especially considering that he champions himself as a reformer of campaign finance rules.”
While Alex and Team Gardner are much too nice and professional to say it, I am not. This particular hypocrisy is punctuated by the fact that the news of this FEC violation comes just one day after Sen. Udall voted to restrict free political speech of law-abiding corporations in America.
Progressives scream loud and often of all the boogie men who intend to buy and steal our elections, but the real boogie men are those like Senator Udall. Instead of finding new ways to use the government as a means to silence his political opponents, Senator Udall should just stick to not violating Federal Election law himself.