FEC Fines Government Contractor that Gave Hillary Clinton Super PAC $200,000 in Illegal Contributions
Suffolk Construction Company pays $34,000 fine, following Campaign Legal Center-Democracy 21 complaint; Priorities USA Action refunds the contribution
WASHINGTON – In response to a complaint filed by Campaign Legal Center (CLC) and Democracy 21 (D21), the Federal Election Commission (FEC) has found that the Massachusetts-based Suffolk Construction Company violated campaign finance law by making two $100,000 donations to a Hillary Clinton-affiliated super PAC in 2015, and that the company agreed to pay a $34,000 fine. CLC and D21 filed a complaint on July 6, 2016 alleging Suffolk violated the longstanding ban on federal contractors making contributions. This appears to be the first time that the FEC has fined a contractor for contributing to a super PAC.
“We applaud the FEC for upholding the integrity of the contractor contribution ban,” said Brendan Fischer, director, federal and FEC reform at CLC. “The reason federal contractors have been banned for 75 years from making political contributions is to prevent pay-to-play in the contracting process. Hopefully this decision by the FEC deters companies with business before the government from attempting to buy influence in the future. And we look forward to the FEC taking action on our outstanding complaint against GEO Group for violating the contractor contribution ban with its contribution to a pro-Trump super PAC.”
The law clearly prohibits federal contractors from donating to a political committee while negotiating or performing a federal contract.
“The FEC has been notoriously lax about enforcing the campaign finance laws,” said Donald Simon, general counsel of Democracy 21, “So it is good to see the agency take action at least in the case of a clear violation. The ban on contributions by federal contractors is an important bright-line anti-corruption rule and the contractor here flagrantly violated it by contributing $200,000 to a Super PAC. We are pleased that the agency did not, as it too often does, ignore that violation.”
Suffolk Construction‘s contributions put it among Priorities USA’s top donors in 2015. The FEC found no reason to believe Priorities USA Action knowingly solicited contributions from Suffolk.