May 8, 2019 Press Release

Why Does Martha McSally Keep Breaking Campaign Finance Laws?

Why Does Martha McSally Keep Breaking Campaign Finance Laws?

It’s been one year since Martha McSally earned an FEC complaint for shady fundraising practices, and McSally has only ramped up her campaign finance violations ever since

McSally’s troubled history of skirting and breaking campaign finance rules dates back to 2012 

“[T]his many failures begins to look intentional” —the Arizona Republic Editorial Board

PHOENIX — It’s been one year since Martha McSally earned a Federal Election Commission (FEC) complaint for “improperly maintain[ing] a campaign fundraising operation for the House of Representatives even after declaring — and raising money for — her Senate run,” and McSally has continued to face consequences for ignoring basic campaign finance rules like individual contribution limits and mandatory donor-information disclosures.

In May 2018, End Citizens United, a campaign finance watchdog organization, filed a complaint with the FEC, highlighting that McSally continued raising money for her U.S House of Representatives campaign committee, even after she announced her intention to run for the U.S. Senate and began to raise funds for her Senate campaign committee — a practice that, among other things, increased the likelihood that McSally might violate individual campaign contribution limits or otherwise break campaign finance laws.

McSally has continued to violate campaign finance laws

At the time of the May 2018 FEC complaint, McSally’s Senate campaign insisted, “We have been in full and complete compliance for years now,” according to the Arizona Republic. But that was clearly not the case, as the FEC, in January 2019, determined that McSally “accepted more than $270,000 in excessive campaign contributions during the recent midterm campaign.” And in March of this year, McSally’s campaign themselves admitted they’d violated campaign finance laws, refunding “more than $120,000 in excess campaign contributions after the Federal Election Commission asked her campaign to explain them.”

McSally has violated campaign finance rules since first running for Congress in 2012

And that is just the most recent example of what the Republic has described as “McSally’s problems following the rules documenting the flow of money in federal politics.” As far back as the 2012 and 2014 elections, the FEC found that McSally misled the FEC as to the identity of some of her donors, failed to accurately report money that she spent and raised, and fully neglected her legal obligation to disclose at least $100,000 in campaign donations.

All of that led the Arizona Republic Editorial Board to, in 2015, condemn McSally’s “sloppiness,” posit, “[T]his many failures begins to look intentional,” and conclude, “Most frustrating of all, [McSally] is getting worse about it, not better.”

And yet, somehow, Martha McSally has — over the past four years — gotten even worse when it comes to flouting federal campaign finance laws and disclosure requirements.

“Ever since Martha McSally was first elected to Congress, she has repeatedly failed to follow basic campaign finance laws, taking more money than she’s been legally allowed and even, at times, failing to disclose who is funding her campaigns,” said Brad Bainum, Arizona Democratic Party spokesperson for the 2020 Senate race. “Arizonans know that there’s too much money in politics, and Martha McSally’s continued campaign finance law violations — not to mention her hardline opposition to campaign finance reform — prove that she’s part of the problem in Washington.”