Former U.S. Congressional Candidate Pleads Guilty in Conduit Campaign Contribution Case

A former primary candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives pleaded guilty today to violating the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA) by accepting a conduit campaign contribution.

According to court documents, Lynda Bennett, 65, of Maggie Valley, North Carolina, was a primary candidate for North Carolina’s 11th Congressional District in 2020. In late December 2019, Bennett borrowed $25,000 from a family member, representing that she needed the money for personal expenses because she had to spend a large amount of her own money on her campaign. The day after depositing the loaned money into a personal account, Bennett then caused $80,000, including the $25,000 in loaned funds, to be transferred to the bank account of Lynda Bennett for Congress (LBC), her authorized federal campaign committee. Under the FECA, Bennett was required to report a loan from a third-party individual as a campaign contribution. Bennett knowingly and willfully violated the FECA by reporting through LBC that the full $80,000 was a loan to her campaign using her own personal funds, rather than disclosing that $25,000 of that amount was a loan from another individual.

Bennett pleaded guilty to one count of accepting contributions in the name of another. She is scheduled to be sentenced on June 20.

Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite, Jr. of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Matthew M. Graves for the District of Columbia, and Assistant Director in Charge David Sundberg of the FBI Washington Field Office made the announcement.

The FBI Washington Field Office investigated the case.

Trial Attorney Ryan R. Crosswell of the Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Joshua S. Rothstein for the District of Columbia are prosecuting the case. Former Assistant U.S. Attorney Amanda R. Vaughn for the District of Columbia provided assistance.

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