Senate candidate Sara Gideon violated campaign finance laws

Maine House Speaker Sara Gideon, who is a current Senate candidate for 2020, committed several campaign finance violations regarding reimbursements for political contributions made in 2015 and 2016.

Gideon's spokeswoman, Amy Mesner, previously told The Associated Press that she had received incorrect guidance regarding the reimbursements, which resulted in the violations. Mesner said that after the error was discovered, it was addressed. Gideon then sent a personal check to the U.S. Treasury in the amount of $3,250 to offset contributions.

National Republican Senatorial Committee Spokesperson Nathan Brand said Gideon's actions violated multiple laws.

"Gideon's straw donor scheme not only violated multiple federal election laws but underscores her reliance on corporate and left-wing special interests," Brand said in an interview with Maine Business Daily. "In addition to giving away Maine's voice to the radicals in Washington, it is clear Gideon is willing to stop at no end—even breaking the law—to deliver for her extreme liberal allies."

Federal election law explicitly prohibits individuals from making contributions in the name of another person or entity.

Gideon contributed $1,000 to Emily Cain's campaign in 2015 when Cain was running for Congress and approximately one month later, she received a $1,000 payment from Gideon Leadership PAC. She was also reimbursed $250 after contributing more money to Cain's campaign in 2016, according to The Washington Free Beacon. Gideon also reimbursed herself for a $1,000 contribution and $500 contribution made in 2016.

The Federal Bureau of Investigations has investigated similar issues before, going as far as arresting Diana Durand, the ex-girlfriend of former U.S. Rep. Michael Grimm (R-N.Y.) for making illegal contributions through straw donors, according to Huff Post.

Peter Carr, the spokesman for the U.S. Department of Justice, declined to comment on the matter, citing a DOJ policy where it neither confirms nor denies matters under investigation.

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