A pro-Hillary Clinton super-PAC returned $200,000 contributed by a company that has contracts with the federal government, making such donations illegal, The Hill
Priorities USA received the donation from Boston-based Suffolk Construction, which has several contracts with the Department of Defense. Donations to political action committees from companies with government contracts are barred by federal law, though the ban is often ignored.
"Based on our internal accounting, the contract appeared to be completed as the project was over four years ago," Dan Antonellis told The Hill on behalf of Suffolk. "We notified the committee of this ambiguity and they decided to return their contribution."
But The Hill said the USAspending.gov database showed Suffolk with several contracts totaling almost $1 million for fiscal 2016.
Clinton isn't the only politician who has been supported by banned donations.
According to the Los Angeles Times
, in 2012 Suffolk Construction donated $510,000 to Restore Our Future, a super-PAC backing GOP nominee Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts governor. The super-PAC also received $750,000 from Oxbox Carbon, which sells coal to a federally owned company.
"Oxbow believes it has a First Amendment right under the U.S. Constitution to make political contributions to independently support candidates who will best address the deep economic issues facing this country," a company representative told the Times.
"What we have is many FEC regulations that are on the books today but are clearly unconstitutional," said Robert Kelner, a lawyer who helps corporations comply with political finance laws.
"So in that environment, it is not surprising to me that some companies will decide to forge ahead . . . What's the enforcement risk?"
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