Florida Bulldog

After all these years, Marco Rubio still hasn’t figured out how to comply with federal campaign fundraising laws

marco rubio
U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio Photo: Marco Rubio for Senate

By Dan Christensen,

Republican Marco Rubio, Florida’s senior U.S. senator, has been in office for more than a decade. You’d think by now he and his minions would have read, understood and complied with federal campaign fundraising law.


To win a third six-year term, Rubio has raised a total of $34.7 million through June 30, according to records compiled by the Federal Election Commission. His main opponent, Orlando Democrat Congresswoman Valdez “Val” Demings, reports total receipts of just over $43 million during the same period.

Before the Nov. 8 election, some experts predict the total fundraising for both candidates combined could reach a stunning $100 million.

The job of U.S. senator pays $174,000 a year.

Marco Rubio for Senate, his principal campaign committee, raised most of his war chest – $27.2 million in contributions and transfers from other authorized committees.

Rep. Val Demings

In late June, the Federal Election Commission sent Marco Rubio for Senate a letter warning about its acceptance of more than 2,000 contributions that appeared to exceed federal contribution limits. Those tens of thousands of dollars of prohibited contributions are detailed on 52 pages.


The FEC asked the Rubio committee to amend its reports to provide additional details about those “incompletely or incorrectly” disclosed contributions as “essential to full public disclosure.”

In an Aug. 1 reply letter, campaign treasurer Lisa Lisker acknowledged taking those illegal donations and explained that some had been returned, redesignated to other elections or returned to the committees that sent then in for redistribution.

Also, Lisker essentially declared, it ain’t our fault.

“Please note the Committee receives contributions from multiple sources and cannot control donors who continuously give over the limits. The Committee does block online contributions from donors who have given the maximum amount allowed by law, but cannot prevent these donors from giving thru alternative sources,” Lisker wrote on Aug. 1.

Translation: Rubio’s committee is blaming his joint fundraising committee, Rubio Victory Committee, for accepting the excessive contributions. Rubio Victory reports raising $1.7 million of his total contributions.

Unfortunately for Rubio, however, FEC regulations require both his campaign committee and the joint fundraising committees to screen contributions to make sure the joint fundraising committee doesn’t accept contributions from donors who have already maxed out in their giving. (Individuals and political committees are generally limited to donating $2,900 per election to candidates for federal office.)

The rules regarding the tedious, but necessary record-keeping requirements for fundraising by political committees are spelling out in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR).

“The fundraising representative and participating committees shall screen all contributions received to insure that the prohibitions and limitations of 11 CFR parts 110 and 114 are observed,” the code says. “Participating political committees [like Marco Rubio for Senate] shall make their contributor records available to the fundraising representative to enable the fundraising representative to carry out its duty to screen contributions.”


Lisker offered the same excuse to explain the Rubio campaign’s acceptance of a handful of prohibited corporate contributions.

Lisa Lisker Photo: LinkedIn

Rubio’s headache here is that the same person, Lisa Lisker, is the treasurer of both his joint fundraiser Rubio Victory Committee and his campaign committee, Rubio for Senate. It appears then that Lisker, a longtime campaign treasurer for Rubio, should know when funds come in whether federal contribution limits are exceeded.

Lisker is the owner of Huckaby Davis Lisker Inc., based in New Alexandria, VA. For 34 years, the firm has done political financial consulting and compliance work for Republican candidates, national and state party committees, political action committees, according to Lisker’s LinkedIn profile.

The next move is up to the FEC. In its June letter to Rubio’s Senate campaign, finance analyst Mary Seiler wrote, “Although the Commission may take further legal action concerning the acceptance of excessive contributions, your prompt action to refund or redesignate and/or reattribute the excessive amount will be taken into consideration.”

Even as his Senate campaign has continued to rake in contributions, Rubio’s failed 2016 presidential campaign remains in debt. In February, Florida Bulldog reported it still owed vendors more than $800,000.

Val Demings for U.S. Senate has had its own troubles with the FEC.

On July 17, the FEC sent Demings’ campaign a warning letter about her acceptance of apparently excessive contributions, adding it may take further legal action if things are not properly fixed. The FEC’s list goes on for 30 pages and also involves tens of thousands of dollars.

The Demings committee’s response is due Aug. 22.

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14 responses to “After all these years, Marco Rubio still hasn’t figured out how to comply with federal campaign fundraising laws”

  1. Trump turned this boy into putty a few years ago and has not been able to function properly since.

  2. Thanks for the solid reporting.

  3. notice the headlines from these people about a republican &
    note that 1 sentence about the democrat

  4. Kevin A Bolling Avatar
    Kevin A Bolling

    Both candidates are self-serving and not deserving. But as a Democrat, I’m voting straight R because of gas pricing and wasting of time on protecting a crack addict and the people’s business not getting done.

  5. I’m still trying to figure out where all Rubio’s debts went after he ran for office the very first time.

  6. Vicki Hallock Avatar

    Poor little Marco. Give him a glass of water.

  7. Recall Rubio was facing bankruptcy after he ran for office the very first time. He blew through millions in campaign contributions, some of which he was allowed to keep after his win. That was not sufficient for this stupid boy with his charming smile and political golden tongue.
    He mismanaged his personal spending, dumping his unpaid debts on the public which we all pay for eventually. Odd thing being the day after some of his major debts were discharged he went out and bought a $80,000 for a luxury speedboat, and then leased a $50,000 2015 Audi Q7, continuing his history of financial irresponsibility. He continually ended up in debt in spite of being propped up with millions in support from friends and Republican Party members. No wonder he was a strong supporter of several Federal acts to make bankruptcy easier.
    read “Marco Rubio’s Career Bedeviled by Financial Struggles”

  8. So WHY is you headline and article about Marco Rubio and conveniently leaves out Val Demings’ name??? You go on and on about Marco Rubio for paragraphs and put a footnote at the end that Val Demings has the same issues. The fact is that Demings has collected more money than Rubio, so Demings is the worst offender. The problem here is campaign finance. Report on it fairly and without bias.

  9. For those who don’t read English: This article is about the Rubio campaign’s response to the FEC letter re donation violations. Note the part on Val Demings: Her campaign’s response is due Aug 22 and has not yet been submitted, ergo, amazingly, this article did not cover Demings’ response.

  10. Well Marco’s campaign gets almost a full article dedicated to their response to the FEC letter, and at the very end, 4 sentences are dedicated to Val Deming’s campaign. I’d like to hope the Bulldog is as tenacious with their reporting as soon as Deming’s response to their FEC letter is made public.

  11. Great political DNC ad posing as a news article. You really had everyone fooled.

  12. Trump has ruined the Republican Party.

    He has turned it into the Sedition — end of US democracy — Party.

    Rubio on his own, OK.

    Rubio supporting Trump supporting overthrowing US democracy, I can’t go there.

    The GOP needs to unitedly say Trump lost the election, reject Trump for the future, and move on to someone like DeSantis, who doesn’t want to force vaccinate people.


    Jackson Rip Holmes

  13. I have heard in these comments about voting republican because of gas prices, really? Also, the reason this ad supports Val Deming, is because this is a ad to support Val Deming Not Marco Rubio. For those of you who don’t realize or just want to complain about anything. The facts are that it doesn’t matter who sits in the oval office the price of gas, food prices, and everything but income has gone up all over the world, not just in USA❗️

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