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Congressional candidate violated campaign law

Congressional candidate violated campaign law

By Mike Mason. CREATED Jul 26, 2012 - UPDATED: Jul 26, 2012

LEE COUNTY, Fla. - A Fox 4 investigation finds a congressional candidate violating federal election campaign laws by accepting corporate donations. According to federal regulations, candidates are required to return all questionable donations but we found one candidate never did. Now Four in your Corner investigator Mike Mason is holding him accountable. He joins us live in the studio with what he uncovered.

We're talking about congressional candidate Paige Kreegel. We reviewed his last quarterly finance report and found several donations that raise serious questions. Paige Kreegel is seeking a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. His campaign has been one of the most successful in terms of raising money.
But a Fox 4 investigation found Kreegel violated federal campaign laws by accepting donations from corporations. Two of Kreegel's opponents say they know better.

Chauncey Goss - Congressional candidate: "If it's a corporate contribution we'll return it and we'll try to get a private contribution sometimes it works sometimes it doesn't but that's the way the game is played and we've got to play by the rules."

Jim Roach- Congressional candidate: "We're supposed to be the people that write the laws, we certainly have to follow them."

So to be fair, we reviewed hundreds of pages of financial documents from all seven candidates. Kreegel was the only one who accepted money from companies. In fact, seven companies donated a total of $6,500 to his campaign.

On Monday, we contacted Kreegel's office to ask about those corporate donations. His campaign manager telling us if we looked at his financial report, quote: "You will see refunds to every corporation that donated to our campaign."

But reports show Kreegel never refunded the money he received from those seven companies. According to federal election campaign laws, "When candidates receive donations of questionable legality they must, within 10 days, return the money." But we found Kreegel received several of those corporate donations back in May and, now, two months later they still haven't been returned.

Jim Roach- Congressional candidate: "You should be looking at every single check, I mean it's pretty obvious if it's a check and it has a corporation on it."
 
Today in a written statement, Kreegel told Fox 4: "We are aware of the rule prohibiting a federal campaign from taking corporate donations. Often times these come in via the internet and we are required to report them as a donation. You will see indicated in our July 26th filing we have issued refund checks for any company donations taken."

So Kreegel has now decided to refund the money. He wouldn't agree to be interviewed for this report but was quick to speak with us last month when one of his opponents was accused of making a mistake.

Paige Kreegel – Congressional candidate: "It's inevitable that our past will catch up with us."

Kreegel tells us his office filed paperwork today showing he is now returning the money to those seven companies. All week we tried to interview Kreegel for this report but he said he was just too busy to meet with us.