GOP Rep. Arizona Schweikert fined in campaign spending case
PHOENIX (AP) — Arizona Republican Rep. David Schweikert’s campaign committee has been fined $125,000 by the Federal Election Commission for reporting erroneous expenses and misappropriating campaign funds for personal.
The commission’s decision came nearly two years after Schweikert agreed to pay a $50,000 fine and admit 11 violations to settle a long-running investigation by the US House Ethics Committee.
Schweikert blamed his former chief of staff for many of the problems, with his campaign consultant repeating as much on Monday. Former Chief of Staff Oliver Schwab also agreed to settle the FEC’s allegations and pay a $7,500 fine.
“No one has been more directly harmed by the wrongdoings of former Congressman Schweikert’s chief of staff than the Friends of David Schweikert,” consultant Chris Baker said in a statement.
But the FEC report, citing the House Ethics Committee investigation, said Schweikert had a lot of blame. He misreported three loans to his campaign, and the House inquiry found he was aware that some campaign expenses were mislabeled and misled investigators as to what he knew. Some of the misclassifications were intended to “hide ineligible or embarrassing disbursements from public view,” the report said.
Schweikert reported the issues to the FEC himself after the ethics committee settled in July 2020. Schwab quit his job in 2018.
Schweikert has represented parts of North Phoenix, Scottsdale, Fountain Hills, and Paradise Valley since 2011. The just-completed redistricting cycle added more North Phoenix suburbs to his district, which was renumbered from 6th Congressional District to 1st District.
Democrats criticized the FEC settlement, with the Democratic Congressional campaign committee issuing a statement calling Schweikert a “corrupt politician.”
“David Schweikert has proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that he can’t be trusted to uphold the law, and now he’s paying for it — or rather, his campaign donors — are paying the price,” the statement said. Committee spokesperson, Monica Robinson.
Schweikert fended off a polished Democratic candidate who spent lavishly in 2020 trying to overthrow him, with much focus on the ethics committee report that was released in July.
Baker said Schweikert is popular in his district and even with a somewhat smaller GOP voter registration advantage after the redistricting, he isn’t worried.
“We are very confident for 2022,” Baker said.