Wisconsin Democracy Campaign
Campaign Cash

Fitzgerald Cited for Campaign Violation

His campaign committee agreed to $3,600 settlement, but hasn’t paid the fee.

By - Feb 13th, 2021 12:47 pm
Scott Fitzgerald. (Public Domain).

Scott Fitzgerald. (Public Domain).

Former Republican Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald’s campaign committee agreed to a $3,600 settlement last October for accepting excessive campaign contributions, but never forked over the cash, campaign finance records show.

Fitzgerald’s settlement was part of $5,448 in forfeitures paid by the Committee to Elect a Republican Senate (CERS), which is one of four legislative campaign committees run by legislative leaders, in this case Fitzgerald, to raise money to pay for elections.

A settlement agreement between Scott Fitzgerald for Senate and the Wisconsin Ethics Commission shows the campaign agreed to pay $3,600 stemming from excessive contributions from four individuals and three political action committees (PACs) between 2015 and 2018.

Individuals and PACs may not contribute more than $2,000 to a state Senate candidate in a four-year election period. The excessive individual and PAC contributions to Fitzgerald each exceeded the limit by $50 to $1,000, for a total overage of $3,600.

Coinciding with Fitzgerald’s settlement was a separate agreement between CERS and the Ethics Commission for $1,848. The CERS settlement was for a violation of campaign finance laws that occurred when the committee’s main fund accepted two corporate campaign contributions totaling $1,234 in 2018 that are required to be placed in CERS’ segregated fund.

The commission received a check from CERS on Oct. 19 for $5,448, which covered the Fitzgerald and CERS settlements, along with a note that read, “Fitzgerald and CERS penalty and Fitz will be repaying CERS. I didn’t have his checkbook.”

However, a review of campaign finance reports from last fall through the end of 2020 showed no $3,600 repayment from Fitzgerald’s campaign committee to CERS had been made.

So, the settlement wasn’t much of a penalty. It only matched the total amount of excess contributions Fitzgerald’s campaign received and had the benefit of using for years and has not repaid CERS for covering.

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