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ECU Calls for FEC Investigation Into Congressional Candidate Tom Barrett for Violating Election Law

Sep 21, 2022

Barrett violated federal election law by using state senate campaign funds for his congressional campaign.

End Citizens United (ECU) filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) asking for an investigation into Tom Barrett, candidate for U.S. House to represent Michigan’s 7th Congressional District. The complaint asserts Barrett violated federal election law by spending $40,000 of state campaign funds to benefit his federal campaign. Barrett also lied about the spending’s purpose, claiming it was for redistricting consulting for a Senate seat he had already decided to vacate.

Click here to read the full complaint

Click here to read coverage of the complaint in MLive

“Taking 90% of his money from special interests and corporate PACs wasn’t enough corruption for Tom Barrett. Now, he broke federal campaign finance law by illegally using his State Senate campaign funds to set up and launch his congressional campaign. He dishonestly spent tens of thousands of his state campaign cash on his congressional campaign, then lied about what he used that money for,” said End Citizens United President Tiffany Muller. “We’re asking the FEC to immediately investigate Barrett and hold him accountable.”

In the complaint:

  • Tom Barrett formed his state candidate committee, Friends of Tom Barrett, for his 2018 state campaign for Michigan’s 24th Senate District on September 13th, 2017. His principal campaign committee for his congressional campaign, Tom Barrett for Congress, registered with the FEC on November 10th, 2021. Barrett announced his congressional campaign on November 15, 2021 and filed his Statement of Candidacy with the FEC on November 17th, 2021.

  • In November 2018, voters voted to create the Michigan’s Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission (MICRC) to draw district lines for Michigan’s members of the State Legislature and Congress. On November 5th, 2021, MICRC’s approved maps were published and entered a 45-day public comment period. A final map for state and congressional districts was approved on December 28th, 2021.

  • On October 28th, 2021, only 13 days before Barrett registered his principal federal committee with the FEC, and less than three weeks before announcing his candidacy, Barrett’s state committee made a first-time payment of $10,000 to Roe Strategic, a political consulting firm led by Jason Cabel Roe, for “redistricting consulting.”

  • On November 10th, 2021, Barrett’s state committee again made a $10,000 payment to Roe Strategic for “redistricting consulting,” which is the same day Barrett’s principal campaign committee filed with the FEC.

  • After he announced his candidacy on November 15th, 2021, Barrett’s state committee proceeded to give Roe Strategic two more installments of $10,000 for “redistricting consulting” on November 19th, 2021 and December 15, 2021.

  • Nine days after Barrett’s state campaign committee paid Roe Strategic for the final time, his congressional campaign committee, Tom Barrett for Congress, began making payments to Roe Strategic for “strategic consulting.”

  • From December of 2021 to June of 2022, Tom Barrett for Congress paid Roe Strategic five different installments totaling $114,304.62 in strategic consulting fees.

  • Using funds from a candidate’s non-federal campaign to help their federal candidacy is prohibited under the ​​Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971.

  • Barrett’s influx of payments for “redistricting consulting” is highly unusual considering Michigan’s independent redistricting process.

  • Barrett’s state campaign committee paid Roe Strategic 4 separate times after the map was redrawn and approved by the public. This strange timing, in conjunction with Barrett announcing of his congressional candidacy and subsequent payments to Roe Strategic, is highly out of the ordinary and suggests that Barrett used Roe Strategic to set up and launch his congressional campaign, illegally paying them with state funds.

  • The FEC should immediately investigate Barrett’s violation of federal campaign finance law.

Click here to read the complaint.