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PRESS
June 11, 2008

CREW Files FEC Complaint Against Rep. Blackburn’s Campaign Committee and it’s Treasurer

Congresswoman BlackburnWashington, D.C. – Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) and Germantown, Tennessee resident Barbara Kaye Ginsberg filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) today against Rep. Marsha Blackburn’s campaign committee, Marsha Blackburn for Congress, and the committee’s treasurer, Tea Hoffman.

After receiving 33 letters from the FEC regarding possible reporting errors since Blackburn first ran for Congress in 2002, the campaign committee undertook its own internal audit, handled by Don McGahn, who has been nominated to become an FEC Commissioner. The review showed that the campaign had failed to file correct FEC reports since Rep. Blackburn first ran for office in 2002. The committee had received over $100,000 in unreported contributions, including a $1,000 contribution from former Rep. Duke Cunningham's campaign committee and had failed to report $286,000 in expenditures, including nearly $19,000 paid to Blackburn’s own daughter. Blackburn was forced to file amendments to all 32 previously filed FEC reports.

Blackburn’s campaign committee had been the subject of an FEC investigation in 2006, resulting in a $1,500 penalty. The campaign committee’s failure to report certain contributions was a focus of the investigation. Nevertheless, at the same time that investigation was underway – and as the Cunningham scandal was breaking – the campaign committee failed to disclose the Cunningham contribution. In fact, the Blackburn campaign did not disclose the Cunningham contribution until three and a half years after it was received.

CREW’s complaint alleges that Blackburn’s campaign committee violated federal campaign finance laws by failing to report the contributions and expenditures. The complaint also alleges that the campaign committee may have committed perjury by signing a statement that all information provided to the FEC to resolve the then pending enforcement matter was true and accurate when the committee had failed to report the contribution from Friends of Duke Cunningham.

CREW’s executive director Melanie Sloan said today, “Given the Blackburn campaign committee’s longstanding pattern of filing inaccurate FEC reports and the large amounts of money involved, the FEC should step in, investigate the committee and sanction it appropriately.” Sloan continued, “In addition, if it turns out that the campaign committee deliberately hid the Cunningham contribution when negotiating a settlement with the FEC, the Department of Justice should consider whether a perjury prosecution is appropriate.”

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) is a non-profit legal watchdog group dedicated to holding public officials accountable for their actions. For more information, please visit www.citizensforethics.org or contact Stephen Santulli at 202.408.5565 or ssantulli@citizensforethics.org.

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