Newly elected U.S. Representative Ross Spano has admitted to receiving more than $175,000 in personal loans from friends and funneling the loans into his political campaign, a possible violation of federal regulations.
In a letter to the Federal Election Commission, the Spano campaign says he took the loans from friends and supporters Cary Carreno and Karen Hunt based on bad legal advice. The letter says the regulatory consultants who gave that advice have been fired.
Spano, R-Brandon, beat Democrat Kristen Carlson of Lakeland in the November midterm. He now represents District 15, which includes parts of Hillsborough, Polk and Lake Counties.
Campaign spokesperson Sandi Poreda emphasized that Spano was not asked by the FEC to make the disclosure.
"Even though Ross still hasn't spoken with any investigators, nor has he received any letter of inquiry from the FEC, he took the proactive step to voluntarily disclose this information in an effort to rectify the situation as quickly as possible," Poreda said in an email Saturday afternoon.
Earlier this week, Carlson told The Ledger in Lakeland that she is calling for an FBI investigation.
"I made it clear that I had lost the election and I’m good with that, but I thought there was so much that was out there in the public domain as to whether or not there were violations of fed law that I thought it deserved to be investigated,” Carlson said.
Spano's use of personal loans to fund his campaign first came to light when he filed his personal financial disclosure forms on Nov. 3, more than 3 months late.