SOUTH MISSISSIPPI, Miss. (WLOX) - Congressman Steven Palazzo is under investigation for allegedly misusing nearly $200,000 in campaign funds. However, Palazzo’s campaign vows the 4th District Congressman will be vindicated of all allegations.
Palazzo has been cooperating with a Congressional Ethics investigation since early this year, according to campaign spokesman Justin Brasell.
The ‘Palazzo for Congress’ campaign has provided documents and information to investigators to refute what Brasell called “baseless allegations.” In March, the Campaign Legal Center, a Washington, D.C. watchdog group, filed a complaint against Palazzo questioning spending and alleging he used campaign contributions as a “personal slush fund.”
The Campaign Legal Center pointed to $60,000 Palazzo’s campaign paid to rent the congressman’s own property in Perkinston and paying nearly $127,933 to his then-wife’s accounting firm.
In a statement to WLOX News, Brasell said “These are baseless allegations by a biased, George Soros-supported, Washington, D.C. based group. These allegations first came up as false attacks by desperate political opponents during Congressman Palazzo’s most recent Republican primary campaign, which he won with 67% of the vote. At no time has Rep. Palazzo made payments for a “farm.” Any rent expenses were for legitimate and allowable political and campaign purposes. Over a ten-year period, Rep. Palazzo has used two accounting firms: one for day-to-day bookkeeping and campaign operations and the other to ensure FEC compliance. Palazzo for Congress is fully cooperating to answer questions from the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) and looks forward to resolving this matter as soon as possible.”
The allegations against Palazzo surfaced in February when Carl Boyanton, one of the Palazzo’s challengers in the Republican primary issued a news release saying he filed complaints with the Federal Election Commission and the Office of Congressional Ethics. At the time, the OCE would not confirm it received complaints from Boyanton or the Campaign Legal Center.
Palazzo won the March primary with an overwhelming majority and faced no opposition in the general election November 3rd.