A political action committee devoted to campaign finance reform has filed a complaint against state Sen. Tom Barrett (R-Charlotte) that alleges his congressional campaign violated campaign finance laws.
End Citizens United accuses Barrett of illegally spending $40,000 of state campaign funds on his bid for the 7th U.S. House district.
Federal law prohibits the use of state campaign funds for federal races.
Barrett is challenging Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin (D-Lansing) for the newly-drawn district that centers around Lansing and includes all of Livingston County.
The group says the money was moved in four payments of $10,000 from Barrett’s state Senate campaign committee to the political consulting firm Roe Strategic. MLive.com reports the payments were listed as being used for “redistricting consulting.”
Because Michigan has its own Independent Citizen’s Redistricting Commission (ICRC) and the payments were made after the newly drawn district maps had already been approved, End Citizens United is questioning that label.
End Citizens United President Tiffany Muller told MLive the stated use for the funds was deceptive.
“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 Muller. “We’re asking the FEC to immediately investigate Barrett and hold him accountable.”
Jason Roe, principal at Roe Strategic, told MLive that the accusations made in the complaint are incorrect.
“I was working with him on the redistricting process as he was looking at where his Senate district, what his final district, was going to be,” Roe told MLive. “This was all related to redistricting. It has nothing to do with his congressional campaign.”
Roe added that because of legal challenges, the final outcome of the maps remained in doubt.
A request for comment has been made to Barrett’s campaign.
A campaign spokesperson for Congresswoman Slotkin declined to comment on the report.