Democracy 21, joined by the Campaign Legal Center, today called on the Justice Department to investigate whether former Governor Jeb Bush and his associated Super PAC, the Right to Rise Super PAC, are engaged in knowing and willful violations of the campaign finance laws.

The groups also requested Attorney General Loretta Lynch to exercise her statutory authority to appoint a Special Counsel to conduct the investigation and any prosecutions that the Special Counsel finds warranted.

While recognizing that the dysfunctional Federal Election Commission (FEC) has lost public credibility as an enforcement agency, the groups also filed a complaint raising the same allegations with the FEC in order to be on record with the agency.

Today’s letter to the Justice Department is the first of a series of requests the groups plan to make to the Department for investigations regarding potential knowing and willful campaign finance violations by presidential candidates and their individual-candidate Super PACs.

According to a statement by Democracy 21 President Fred Wertheimer:

 There are powerful grounds to conclude that the political charade being perpetrated on the American people by former Governor Jeb Bush and his associated individual-candidate Super PAC is illegal.

The same is true for other presidential campaigns and their associated Super PACs and we also plan to ask the Justice Department to investigate those as well. The Bush scheme, however, appears to be the most blatant and brazen effort to date to circumvent and evade the candidate contribution limits enacted to prevent corruption and the appearance of corruption.

The claim is being made by Bush and his advisers that the Bush activities are legal because Bush has not yet announced his candidacy. But as we document in our Justice Department letter, the facts show that Bush is a candidate as defined by federal campaign finance laws, notwithstanding the Bush claim.

Our organizations are not prepared to allow a dysfunctional and paralyzed FEC to provide cover for presidential candidates to engage in widespread violations of the nation’s laws enacted to prevent corruption.

The Justice Department has the authority and the responsibility to prevent the 2016 presidential candidates from engaging in the most massive violations of the campaign finance laws in the nation’s history. The Justice Department needs to act to protect the integrity of the presidency and our democracy.

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