Comedian and actress Rosie O’Donnell has made no attempt to hide her contempt for President Donald Trump in celebrity feud that goes back more than a decade. She has also been a vocal supporter of Democratic candidates and causes in dozens of federal races around the country.
According to a report in The New York Post, Rosie O’Donnell may have gone overboard with her support. The Post reported O’Donnell possibly violated Federal Election Commission (FEC) campaign finance laws on five separate occasions, amounting to $5,400 in excess campaign contributions to Democratic candidates.
The comedian was unapologetic in an email response to the Post, saying there was “nothing nefarious” about the contributions in excess of the FEC’s $2,700 individual maximum. “I was not choosing to over donate,” she explained. “My anxiety is quelled by donating to those opposing trump [and] his agenda — especially at night — when most of these were placed.”
According to FEC filings obtained by the Post, O’Donnell gave more than $90,000 to 50 different candidates and organizations in the 2017 to 2018 election cycle, largely using the liberal fundraising website, ActBlue. Those contributions included overpaying five candidates and using fake names and addresses to make the donations.
The comedian claimed she doesn’t keep track of her many contributions. “I just donate assuming they do not accept what is over the limit,” she told the Post, adding if she exceeded the legal maximum, candidates “should refund the money.”
ActBlue did not return a request for comments on preventing excessive political contributions. The website says its contribution forms are “pre-set” to accommodate FEC limits on donations.
After the report surfaced questioning her excessive campaign donations, Rosie O’Donnell tweeted about contributions to another dozen candidates and organizations. She again denied any wrongdoing and set her sites on $100,000 in political contributions through ActBlue.
“[A]s a salute to the ny post writer – who found sinister ways to warp the truth – i will click away tonight – so i can hit 100,000,” O’Donnell wrote.
According to Brendan Fischer, director of the FEC reform program at the Campaign Legal Center, the over-payments are likely “reporting errors” that can be remedied by the campaign committees.
Under FEC rules, campaigns can either refund excess donations or redesignate money toward a different campaign, for example, shifting money for a primary to a general election. Fischer explained it is “fairly common practice” for donors to contribute more than the $2,700 maximum, especially during primary season.