FEC fines Rep. Dan Crenshaw for taking over $220,000 in illegal campaign contributions

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This isn't the first time the Texas Republican has run afoul of federal ethics laws.

The Federal Election Commission fined Rep. Dan Crenshaw’s (R-TX) campaign committee $42,000 on Friday after finding it had accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars in illegal contributions.

This is the latest in a series of ethical scandals for the second-term congressman.

The commission found that Crenshaw’s 2020 reelection campaign “knowingly accepted $223,460.26 in apparent excessive and prohibited contributions for the 2020 primary and general elections.”

After being notified of these issues, Crenshaw’s campaign waited months to return the improper contributions — a delay it blamed on “human error.”

The six-member panel voted 4-2 to accept a conciliation agreement between the federal agency and Crenshaw’s campaign. Two of the three Republican commissioners voted against taking any action — even after both sides agreed to the fine.

Crenshaw, a former U.S. Navy SEAL officer, has touted his honesty and integrity as a candidate.

“While Dan no longer fights on the battlefield, he utilizes the integrity, leadership, vision, and tenacity he gained in the SEAL teams to serve honorably in Congress,” his website claims. “Dan stands for common sense policies that ensure our nation’s prosperity and security, represent our Foundational values, and give Texans a reason to once again be proud of their leaders.”

During Crenshaw’s initial House campaign in April 2018, the Houston Chronicle reported that he had failed to file his required personal financial disclosure paperwork on time. This too was blamed on staff error.

"It has recently come to my attention that my personal financial disclosure form was not submitted," he told the paper at the time. "It had been completed, and I believed it had been filed. It was not, and I accept responsibility. The campaign's former Treasurer on record with the (Federal Election Commission) did not file the disclosure form and he is no longer with the campaign."

The House Committee on Ethics fined Crenshaw $5,000 in September 2021 for failing to go through the Capitol metal detectors before entering the chamber’s Republican cloakroom. He appealed the fine and the majority of the committee agreed to overturn it.

The nonpartisan watchdog group Campaign for Accountability filed an ethics complaint against Crenshaw in December 2020 alleging that he “violated House ethics rules when he shared false information with Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert Wilkie about a Democratic House staffer and then refused to cooperate with an investigation by the Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General (“OIG”) into a sexual assault on that staff member.”

Crenshaw denied the allegations and the Office of Congressional Ethics does not appear to have announced any action on the complaint. While the office’s investigations are confidential, most are made public if an issue is referred to the House Committee on Ethics for future action.

Crenshaw, who won a third term in November’s midterm election with 65.9% of the vote, is currently vying to become the new chair of the House Homeland Security Committee.

A Crenshaw spokesperson did not immediately respond to an inquiry for this story.

Published with permission from The American Independent Foundation.