- Associated Press - Wednesday, February 5, 2020

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) - An election watchdog has filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission over a $150,000 donation to a Super PAC that has spent money in support of Republican Sen. Susan Collins.

The complaint from the nonpartisan Campaign Legal Center contends the outfit that made the donation, the Society of Young Women Scientist and Engineers LLC, was established to shield the original source of funding.

The Society of Young Women Scientists and Engineers LLC was registered Nov. 26 in Hawaii, according to the FEC complaint. Jennifer Lam was listed as the registered agent and manager. The $150,000 donation was made about a month later to the 1820 PAC.

So-called straw donor violations occur when someone makes a campaign contribution in the name of another person to conceal the true source of the funds.

The legal center could find no business records associated with the limited liability company and was unable to reach the company. It’s illegal for a wealthy donor to launder money through an LLC to keep the source of contributions off campaign reports, said Brendan Fischer, attorney for the legal center.



The FEC staff will look into the matter, but it’s unlikely there will be a full investigation because the commission currently has only three members and lacks a quorum necessary to order an investigation.

The 1820 PAC, which has supported Collins’ bid for a fifth term, is linked to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Last week, the Maine Republican Party filed a complaint with the Maine Ethics Commission against a Democrat who is running against Collins.

The complaint focused on Facebook ads paid funded by House Speaker Sara Gideon’s now-shuttered state political action committee in 2018.

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