Congress

GOP Rep. Spano got just $1 in grassroots donations

Freshman Rep. Ross Spano has been beleaguered by ethical questions since before his swearing-in

Reps. Ross Spano, R-Fla., raised almost nothing from small dollar donors in the first quarter of the year. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Ross Spano collected just one dollar in grassroots donations in the first quarter of the year.

The Florida Republican received just one unitemized contribution of less than $200 — a single donation of $1 — his latest filing to the Federal Election Commission shows. 

The Democratic Party spotlighted Spano’s paltry small-dollar support Tuesday.  

“After months of legal questions, horrible headlines, and constituent outrage over his fundraising schemes, Congressman Spano’s inability to raise more than $1 from small-dollar donors shows that his future in politics is in jeopardy,” said Melissa Miller, spokeswoman for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the campaign arm of House Democrats.

Spano raised a total of $223,968.52 in the first quarter, including $94,539.00 in itemized contributions or contributions over $200.

Spano, who represents the 15th District that spans the suburbs of Tampa, is among the 18 Republicans placed on a “retirement watch list” by the DCCC. 

The congressman’s first term in office has been overshadowed by his admission last year in a letter to federal regulators that he may have violated campaign finance law. Spano addressed the letter just weeks after Election Day. 

Before being officially sworn into office, Spano faced bipartisan calls for investigations by the Federal Election Commission and the House Ethics Committee into how he funded his campaign.

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Spano took out $180,000 in loans from two benefactors, then directed approximately the same amount to his campaign. The two loans totaling $180,000 each far exceed the limit on individual campaign donations of $2,800. 

The loans first came to light when Spano submitted a financial disclosure form three-and-a-half months after it was due, facing questions from the Tampa Bay Times about the missing filing.

The FEC has not released details about any inquiry, but personal financial disclosures reported in May will shed some light on how Spano repaid the hefty loans, Florida Politics reported.

Spano also tapped personal loans during his 2012 race for his first elected office, a Florida statehouse seat, the Times has reported. 

Spano won by six points in his race against Democrat Kristen Carlson in the 15th District, which President Donald Trump carried by ten points. 

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