As he prepares one other bid to unseat Oregon’s longest-tenured congressman, Alek Skarlatos is going through questions on his marketing campaign’s funds.
In a grievance filed Monday with the Federal Elections Fee, a political motion committee is accusing Skarlatos, a Republican working in Oregon’s fourth congressional district, of inappropriately accepting $65,000 from a nonprofit he based.
“Federal candidates can’t use darkish cash teams as slush funds for his or her political campaigns,” mentioned Tiffany Muller, the president of Finish Residents United, the Democrat-affiliated PAC that filed the grievance. “Skarlatos’ darkish cash donation to his marketing campaign isn’t solely self-serving and corrupt however doesn’t fall inside the bounds of the legislation.”
The grievance follows a report this month by the Related Press, which detailed how Skarlatos based the nonprofit 15:17 Belief in 2021, after dropping to U.S. Rep. Peter DeFazio, a Democrat, within the earlier 12 months’s election. The group’s title is a reference to an incident, memorialized within the movie “The 15:17 to Paris,” by which Skarlatos and two different American troopers famously prevented a terrorist assault on a European practice.
In response to the AP report, Skarlatos based the group to handle veterans’ points, and used $93,000 in unspent funds from his 2020 marketing campaign to present the group its begin. However the group has proven few outward indicators of exercise. In Might, quickly after Skarlatos introduced he’d make one other run at Congress, his marketing campaign reported a $65,000 test from the 15:17 Belief within the type of a “return of charitable contribution.”
Finish Residents United says that the “return” truly quantities to an impermissible contribution from a 501c4 group, a kind of nonprofit generally derided as “darkish cash” teams as a result of they don’t have to publicly report their donors. Whereas the FEC has accredited some such returns prior to now, Finish Residents United argues that the details of Skarlatos’ transaction transcend the bounds of what the fee has discovered acceptable.
“Skarlatos broke marketing campaign finance legal guidelines when he funneled marketing campaign money to a darkish cash group he controls after which transferred cash from the group to his new marketing campaign,” Finish Residents United mentioned in a launch.
An inquiry to Skarlatos’ marketing campaign was not instantly returned on Monday afternoon. However Ross Pergason, Skarlatos’ marketing campaign supervisor, beforehand informed the AP that the transactions had been “utterly authorized.”
In its grievance, Finish Residents United has requested the FEC to advantageous Skarlatos $186,000, double the quantity he initially steered towards his nonprofit. In fiscal 12 months 2021, the common advantageous handed down by the SEC was $3,937.
FEC data present Skarlatos’ marketing campaign was fined $3,539 earlier this 12 months, for failing to offer applicable discover of marketing campaign finance contributions.
Since serving to stop the terrorist assault in 2015, Skarlatos, 29, has gained a level of fame, taking part in himself in a movie primarily based on the incident, “The 15:17 to Paris,” and showing on “Dancing with the Stars.” He’s seen much less success politically, dropping a bid for the Douglas County Board of Commissioners in 2018 earlier than working the aggressive however failed race in opposition to DeFazio in 2020.
He might face a harder check in 2022, if new congressional districts handed by Oregon Democrats face up to a authorized problem. That up to date plan bolstered Democrats’ numbers within the fourth congressional district, giving DeFazio or another Democratic nominee a measure of security.
In response to the most recent marketing campaign finance filings, Skarlatos’ new marketing campaign had $334,100 available on the finish of September. Each he and DeFazio spent upwards of $5 million within the 2020 race.