On December 18, 2015, the Federal Election Commission (FEC) filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida against Edward Lynch, Sr., Lynch for Congress and Edward Lynch, Sr. in his official capacity as treasurer (defendants). The Commission seeks a declaration that defendants’ conversion of campaign funds to personal use on or after August 12, 2010, was a violation of 52 U.S.C. § 30114(b). The FEC further seeks a permanent injunction against similar future violations and appropriate civil penalties against the defendants, as well as an order requiring Mr. Lynch to disgorge the converted funds.
Lynch for Congress was the principal campaign committee for Edward J. Lynch, Sr. for his 2008 and 2010 campaigns for U.S. Congress. Between 2008 and 2010, evidence was uncovered that the defendants may have converted as much as $53,500 of campaign contributions for Mr. Lynch’s personal use; however, the complaint focuses on specific expenditures made on or after August 12, 2010. The FEC alleges that Mr. Lynch used campaign funds to pay for various personal expenses during that time period, including gym membership dues, personal loan payments, automobile expenses and retail purchases.
The Federal Election Campaign Act defines “personal use” as the use of campaign funds “to fulfill any commitment, obligation, or expense of a person that would exist irrespective of the candidate’s election campaign or individual’s duties as a holder of Federal office.” 52 U.S.C. § 30114(b)(2). Personal use includes, among other things, payments of home mortgages, rent, or utilities; clothing purchases; non-campaign related automobile expenses; and health club dues, among other payments. 52 U.S.C. § 30114(b)(2); 11 CFR 113.1(g).
The Commission initiated enforcement proceedings against the defendants after reviewing information in the normal course of carrying out its supervisory responsibilities. Unable to secure acceptable conciliation agreements with the defendants following a finding of probable cause to believe that the defendants violated 52 U.S.C. § 30114(b), the Commission voted 6-0 to authorize this suit.
The FEC seeks a declaration that defendants’ conversion of $1,622 of campaign funds for Mr. Lynch’s personal use on or after August 12, 2010, violated the Federal Election Campaign Act, the assessment of a $7,500 civil penalty against Mr. Lynch in his personal capacity, and the assessment of a $7,500 civil penalty against Lynch for Congress and Mr. Lynch in his official capacity as treasurer of that committee. The FEC also seeks an order requiring Mr. Lynch to disgorge the $1,622 of campaign funds converted to personal use on or after August 12, 2010, and a permanent injunction against future similar violations by defendants.
FEC v. Lynch litigation page