Fitzgerald Cited for Campaign Violation
His campaign committee agreed to $3,600 settlement, but hasn’t paid the fee.
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.
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.