Cruz suggests O’Rourke campaign funds being used for 'people coming here illegally'

Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzDem bundler: Donors waiting on 2020 commitments until Beto O'Rourke makes decision The Hill's Morning Report — GOP victorious in Florida while Dems say `Sunbelt strategy’ looks bright for 2020 Dem gains put Sunbelt in play for 2020 MORE (R) suggested on Friday that staffers working for his opponent in the Texas Senate race, Rep. Beto O'RourkeRobert (Beto) Francis O'RourkeThe Hill's 12:30 Report - New White House threat to Acosta's press pass | Trump defends criticism of McRaven | Hamilton biographer to headline WHCA dinner Sanders on 2020 White House bid: 'We're looking at it' Dem bundler: Donors waiting on 2020 commitments until Beto O'Rourke makes decision MORE (D), were using campaign funds to help "people coming here illegally." 

Cruz also called on O'Rourke to say whether he supported allowing a migrant of caravans to "cross illegally" into Texas.

"I thought it was a joke, until video broke this morning of his campaign staffers taking campaign money and apparently using it to give to people coming here illegally," Cruz said in a speech, according to a clip posted by a Cruz campaign official on Friday. 

"There are radicals on the left who want to tear down our laws," he added. "By the way, Beto has not answered a simple question: Should we allow this caravan to cross illegally into the state of Texas?"

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The senator was referring to a video from conservative activist organization Project Veritas claiming to show O'Rourke staffers using campaign funds to help migrants.

Project Veritas frequently targets Democrats and other left-leaning organizations through undercover videos but has often faced accusations of selectively editing videos to drive a point.

In a separate tweet on Friday morning Cruz called on O'Rourke to respond to the claims made in the Project Veritas video and address the caravan of migrants making its way through to the U.S. southern border.

"Two basic Qs every reporter should ask Beto today: (1) should the 'caravan' be allowed to cross illegally into Texas? (Beto refuses to answer.) And (2) did your campaign dollars illegally fund their doing so?" the senator tweeted.

The Cruz campaign elaborated on its suggestion in a subsequent statement.

"Beto campaign staffers confirmed on video that emerged last night, that they are giving supplies to immigrants who have crossed the border illegally, it is a fair question to ask," the Cruz campaign said in the statement.

"And even more important is what Cruz first asked -- why hasn't Beto O'Rourke said what should be done when the caravan reaches the border? He refuses to answer, yet Texans deserve to know what he would do - will he support securing the border or will he be complicit in encouraging them to enter illegally?"

O'Rourke's campaign responded by accusing Cruz of seeking to mislead Texans.

"Ted Cruz pushes fear and paranoia because he wants to divide and mislead Texans four days before this election," saidO'Rourke in a statement. "We should be bringing people together and defining ourselves not by who we are scared of but what we want to achieve."

O'Rourke's campaign told The Texas Tribune that campaign funds had been used to donate supplies to an El Paso nonprofit organization called Annunciation House that provides shelter to immigrants, and that the contributions of  less than $300 total will be "appropriately reported" to the Federal Election Commission.

"Staff members took it upon themselves to use prepaid cards from one of our more than 700 field offices to buy baby wipes, diapers, water, fruit and granola bars, and donate them to a local humanitarian nonprofit (Annunciation House) that helps mothers and children in the community," O'Rourke spokesman Chris Evans said in a statement to The Tribune.

"The value was under $300 and it will be appropriately reported to the FEC."

The suggestion from Cruz's campaign comes just days before Tuesday's midterm elections, with Cruz and O'Rourke locked in a race considered as a "toss-up" by non-partisan political prognosticator The Cook Political Report. Cruz has led in most recent polls.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpPaul Ryan defends Navy admiral after Trump's criticism Trump discussing visit overseas to troops following criticism: report Retired Army General: Trump is ‘acting like an 8th grader’ in attacking ex-Navy SEAL who led bin Laden operation MORE and other Republicans have sought to focus their messaging on immigration and the migrant caravan, in particular, in the waning days of the midterm cycle. Democrats, meanwhile, have honed in on GOP lawmakers' support for the Republican plan to repeal Obamacare.