The U.S. House Ethics Committee, led by a congressman from the Sunshine State, will look at the campaign finances of another member of the Florida delegation.
This week, the committee announced it will review a matter involving freshman U.S. Rep. Ross Spano, R-Fla., for using loans from friends for his campaign last year as if the money was his own. While a candidate for federal office can use as much of his or her personal wealth as they wish, loans from others are to be treated as contributions from other individuals with a max of $2,700.
U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch, D-Fla., the chairman of the committee, and U.S. Rep. Kenny Marchant, R-Texas, who leads Republicans on the committee, issued a joint statement on Monday on the matter.
“Pursuant to House Rule XI, clause 3(b)(8)(A), and Committee Rules 17A(b)(1)(A) and 17A(c)(1), the chairman and ranking member of the Committee on Ethics have jointly decided to extend the matter regarding Representative Ross Spano, which was transmitted to the committee by the Office of Congressional Ethics on August 16, 2019,” the congressmen noted. “The committee notes that the mere fact of a referral or an extension, and the mandatory disclosure of such an extension and the name of the subject of the matter, does not itself indicate that any violation has occurred, or reflect any judgment on behalf of the committee.”
Deutch and Marchant said the committee will have an announcement on Spano by November 14.
Spano’s office noted the extension from the committee “does not itself indicate that any violation has occurred, or reflect any judgment on behalf of the committee.”
The congressman himself weighed in on Monday night and he welcomed the committee’s extension though he wasn’t fond of the timing of the announcement.
“The House Committee on Ethics is reviewing my self-reported filings with the FEC,” Spano said. “I think this is a step in the right direction as I want to ensure my record of transparency and accountability is publicly highlighted. While I have doubts about the timing and motive behind this inquiry, I am confident the process will ultimately lean in my favor. With that said, I remain committed to the issues that my district has elected me to address.”
First elected to Congress last year after three terms in the Florida House, Spano represents parts of Hillsborough, Lake and Polk Counties. He is expected to be a top target for Democrats in the 2020 election cycle.
Reach Kevin Derby at email@example.com.