Marco Rubio’s refunds of excessive campaign contributions continue

By Francisco Alvarado, 

U.S. Senator Marco Rubio

U.S. Senator Marco Rubio

Sen. Marco Rubio’s campaign continues to trickle out refunds to donors who made excessive contributions last year.

On May 5, Lisa Lisker, assistant treasurer to the recently renamed Marco Rubio for President committee, notified the Federal Election Commission that the campaign had returned $10,000 to Anthony Trey Traviesa, a former Florida state representative from the Tampa area.

Rubio campaign spokesman Alex Conant did not respond to questions sent via email or a request for comment via his Twitter account.

The FEC has sent violation notices to Rubio’s campaign after each of its quarterly report filings in 2014. Until last year, the FEC capped an individual’s contributions at $2,600 per election. In February, the commission raised the limit by $100. The senator’s presidential campaign has raised $917,946 and the Rubio Victory political action committee has raised $1.8 million so far.

The first-term senator has also secured a $10 million pledge from billionaire Miami car dealer Norman Braman and, according to a recent Politico story, is the frontrunner among Republican presidential contenders to win the financial support of billionaire casino mogul Sheldon Adelson.

Lisker reported Traviesa’s refund a month after she notified the FEC that Rubio’s campaign had returned $23,000 in over-the-limit contributions, reclassified another $27,000 for use in the 2016 general election, or applied the excessive contributions to the spouses of donors, federal election records show.

Last week, Lisker said the excessive $10,000 donation from Traviesa had appeared in the campaign’s 2014 end of year report. She also said the refund is noted in Rubio’s most recent quarterly report filed April 15.

“Thank you for bringing this to our attention,” Lisker wrote. “The Committee has reviewed its procedures to ensure that all duplicate donors are identified and that all excessive contributions are reattributed or refunded within the 60-day time limit.”

In four April 11 response letters to the FEC, Lisker explained that the campaign — formerly known as Marco Rubio for Senate — and the separate Rubio Victory PAC had not tracked excessive contributions or duplicate entries. She did not explain why that happened, but assured FEC regulators that the campaign had straightened out the problem.

“The committee now performs reviews of the data weekly to identify any excessive contributions that may have been missed during the initial processing,” Lisker wrote. “Once the excessive contributions are identified, the committee takes steps to either reattribute, re-designate or refund if necessary.”

According to its April 15 report, Rubio’s campaign does appear to be taking better care of keeping tabs on excessive contributions. For instance, Cesar Alvarez, co-chairman of Miami law firm Greenberg Traurig, donated $5,200 for the primary, but the report notes half will either be re-designated for the general election or be attributed to his spouse.

Another donor, Ronald Gidwitz, a principal in the Chicago corporate event management company GCG Partners, also gave $5,200 for the primary, but the report notes $2,700 is being re-designated for the general election.

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