Legal Center Files FEC Complaint Against Rep. Towns for Personal Use of Campaign Funds

CLC Staff
May 30, 2012
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Today, the Campaign Legal Center filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) seeking an investigation of Rep. Edolphus Towns concerning allegations that he illegally converted campaign funds to personal use.  Media reports have indicated that the Congressman’s wife, Gwen Towns, regularly uses a vehicle financed by the campaign for a variety of noncampaign-related personal uses, including her daily commute to and from her place of employment.

“The regular personal use of a campaign-financed car by the Congressman’s wife alleged in media reports would constitute a clear violation of campaign finance laws related to personal use of campaign funds unless the Towns’ campaign was fully reimbursed,” said J. Gerald Hebert, Campaign Legal Center Executive Director.  “We found no evidence in FEC disclosure reports filed by the Towns campaign that it was ever reimbursed for any personal use of the vehicle by Mr. or Mrs. Towns.”

Under federal law, campaign contributions are deemed “converted to personal use” if such funds are “used to fulfill any commitment, obligation or expense of a person that would exist irrespective of the candidate’s election campaign or individual’s duties as a holder of Federal office.”  The law also expressly defines any “noncampaign-related automobile expense” as a personal use of campaign funds.

FEC reports indicate that Representative Towns’ campaign has leased an Infiniti for at least 12 months at a cost of more than $600 per month and published reports have indicated that the vehicle has been used exclusively or primarily by the Congressman’s wife Gwen Towns for noncampaign-related personal activities.

The complaint filed by the Legal Center called for an immediate investigation and urged the FEC to impose appropriate sanctions for any and all violations.

To read the complaint, click here.

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