Rep. Aaron Schock’s office today said it remains confident the lawmaker did not violate federal campaign finance laws when he solicited a $25,000 donation for a super PAC from House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.).
Although federal law and a memo from the Federal Election Commission appear to limit the size of a solicitation to $5,000, a spokesman for the Illinois Republican said his camp is confident his efforts were legal.
“Congressman Schock vetted this question through an attorney specializing in FEC compliance beforehand, and the giving and soliciting of ‘hard money’ [campaign funds raised wholly within federal campaign finance laws] is completely within the law,” Schock’s spokesman said in an email.
Additionally, aides familiar with the situation note that there is significant gray area in the law caused by the fact that the solicitation was between lawmakers and involved hard money donations.
Late last month, Schock approached Cantor asking him to make a matching donation of $25,000 to the Campaign for Primary Accountability, a Texas-based super PAC that is targeting incumbents and was running ads critical of Rep. Don Manzullo in his Illinois primary against Rep. Adam Kinzinger. Kinzinger defeated Manzullo in the GOP primary.
Although Schock and Cantor have said those funds were specifically targeted toward the Kinzinger-Manzullo race, the CPA has denied it accepted the funds with any strings attached, and the donations have angered incumbent Republicans targeted by the group.
The CPA, however, has since acknowledged that the funds were intended for the Illinois race and told the Washington Post it will label them as such in filings to the FEC.
The donations have also raised questions about the level of coordination between Schock and the CPA, as well as the legality of his solicitation.
Vice President Joe Biden waits to conduct a mock swearing-in ceremony with Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, in the Capitol's Old Senate Chamber, December 2, 2014. Schatz was sworn in to serve the remainder of his term since he was appointed to the seat after Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, passed away.