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Former House candidate pleads guilty to accepting illegal campaign contribution

Justice Department
AP/Andrew Harnik
The Justice Department in Washington, Friday, Nov. 18, 2022. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

A woman who ran in North Carolina’s Republican primary for the U.S. House in 2020 pleaded guilty on Wednesday to accepting a conduit campaign contribution in violation of campaign finance law, the Department of Justice announced.

The DOJ, citing court documents, said in a release that 65-year-old Lynda Bennett borrowed from a family member $25,000 that she said would be used for personal expenses while she used her own money for her campaign for North Carolina’s 11th congressional district.

Bennett then transferred the $25,000 and $55,000 additional funds to her federal campaign committee’s bank account, but did not report the third-party loan as a campaign contribution as required under the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA), according to the DOJ. 

“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,” the release reads. “LBC” is an acronym for Bennett’s congressional campaign committee, Lynda Bennett for Congress.

The Republican candidate was endorsed by former President Trump, who described her as “a great fighter and ally,” in her campaign to replace former Rep. Mark Meadows (R), who stepped down from Congress to service in Trump’s White House as chief of staff. Meadows also backed Bennett to be his successor.

She lost in the GOP primary to then-24-year-old Madison Cawthorn, who went on to represent North Carolina in the House until he was ousted in November’s midterms.

Bennett pleaded guilty to “accepting contributions in the name of another” and faces up to five years in prison if convicted. She’s set to be sentenced in June of this year. 

“Lynda is grateful for the support of her family and friends, and glad to move on to the next step in the process,” Bennett’s attorney Kearns Davis told The Hill in a statement.

Tags 2020 Campaign Department of Justice Lynda Bennett Madison Cawthorn North Carolina

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