Could Beto O’Rourke Legally Give Campaign Money to the Caravan?

By Rachel Alexander Published on November 20, 2018

James O’Keefe of Project Veritas caused quite a stir when he caught staff from Beto O’Rourke’s U.S. Senate campaign admitting they spent campaign funds on supplies for the South American caravan. Federal law prohibits the spending of campaign funds for personal use. But it allows donations to charity.

The campaign now claims they were authorized by that law. Maybe. But the staff itself was filmed saying they thought the activity was illegal.

They Ignored the Rules

“For me, I can ignore the rules,” field manager Dominic Chacon says on tape. “I don’t mind breaking the rules and I can defend any position.” Field organizer AnaPaula Themann says a few moments later, “Don’t ever repeat this and stuff but, like, if we just say that we’re buying food for a campaign event, like the Halloween events, ’cause there’s block walks coming up for Halloween.”

Chacon adds,“I think we can use that with those [campaign pre-paid] cards to buy some food, all that s**t can be totally masked like, oh we just wanted a healthy breakfast!” One staffer raises the prospect of a “$50,000 fine” if caught. The footage also shows campaign staff discussing using campaign vehicles to give rides.

Denies Funding the Caravan

O’Rourke’s campaign sent a statement to Politifact on November 2. “Ted Cruz shamefully and falsely suggested that the Beto for Texas campaign used campaign dollars to fund a caravan that remains hundreds of miles from the U.S.-Mexico border.”

The campaign said they provided funds for illegal immigrants in El Paso. Staffers used prepaid credit cards to buy “wipes, diapers, water, fruit and granola bars.” They donated the cards to Annunciation House. It is a nonprofit that provides support to illegal immigrants.

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According to the FEC website, campaigns can give to charity “as long as the candidate does not receive compensation from the charitable organization before it has expended the entire amount donated.” Paul S. Ryan, vice president of policy and litigation at the government watchdog group Common Cause, observed, “If the campaign were to incorrectly report these funds, then the tape … would be evidence that the violation was knowing and willful.”

Also, if the campaign had provided the credit cards directly to the illegal immigrants instead of to Annunciation House it would have violated the law. The FEC’s website says, “On special occasions, campaign funds may be used to purchase gifts or make donations of nominal value to persons other than the members of the candidate’s family.” This was not a special occasion.

Possibly Illegal

Campaign money cannot be used to assist with an illegal act. If the O’Rourke campaign had provided funds to the caravan, there might be an argument that was illegal. However, the campaign insists it was providing funds to help illegal immigrants already in the country.

The campaign claims it donated less than $300. It said it will report the spending. But until the campaign reports are filed, there is no way to verify the claims. If the campaign did not list the expense in the campaign report on time, it could be guilty of misreporting. Or making a false statement to the government. The latter is a crime.

Even if the campaign violated no election laws, the staff donated money from O’Rourke’s supporters to illegal immigrants. A good share of those supporters would not approve.

But then, Beto hasn’t really said what he thinks about the caravan. Ted Cruz observed that Beto has ducked the issue of the caravan. “Beto has not answered the simple question: should we allow this caravan to cross illegally into the state of Texas?”

 

Follow Rachel on Twitter at Rach_IC. Send tips to rachel.alexander@stream.org.

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  • Months not years…… { jr }

    Seems to me that “ the correct type ( spoken with Elitist stiff lipped pretentiousness) is beyond reproach, meh “…..

    But God forbid the sheep jaywalk…..

    I do not expect therefore any such justice, on this earth…. at least not for slightly more than 1,000 years distant.

  • FreeSpeech

    yes, lock him up for good

  • BossySnowAngel

    Remember, the guy on the tape was specifically seeking receipts that were NOT itemized so that anything they submit couldn’t be critically analyzed. They can claim anything they want because there’s no proof other than the fact money changed hands. And this is the way the Democrats operate-shady underhanded tacit adherence to the rules except when nobody’s looking.

  • srg

    Yes.

  • Scott Davis

    Justice for Democrats! Lock him up with Hillary

  • Adam

    I saw the tapes, they knew they were breaking the law, now they will try to falsify the paperwork to show they did not, but the evidence is on tape. Whatever they do now will only result in more crimes. Because the FEC is corrupt as hell, hello Hitlery / Obdumbo

    They committed the 2 biggest election frauds in American history back to back and FEC is doing Nothing. Basically Dems break election law every election because they are never prosecuted by the RINOs. Non RINOs miss a decimal point and they go to jail for 15 years. This is what leads to people going to the armory, getting the weapons out and demanding the ballot box. (Look up the historical reference) I can’t find it because google now hides this historical information. But I am sure someone here will remember it, but I think it was McMinn County, TN, aka the battle of Athens.

  • Lars Skiipole

    Jail him

  • Constitution First

    The Progressive Left is the Domestic Enemies of the Republic our Forefathers warned us about.

  • switchblade327

    Another Demonrat

  • GEOBOWLIN1

    he and soros!

  • 4freedom

    5 years ought to do it.

  • MarkPitrone

    Lyin’ Ted Cruz should take a cue from the Trump playbook and find a cute nickname for “Theivin’ Bobby O’Rourke”. OOO! There’s a good one!

    Then he has to use it every chance he gets.

  • Daniel Staggers

    Yes, he should go to prison, but he won’t be charged for anything.

  • Bluerose11

    He’s a politician. They are allowed to break the law. Didn’t you know that? It doesn’t matter what we peons think.

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