Home>Campaigns>Rizzo improperly terminated campaign account during trial, FEC regulations show

GOP congressional candidate Phil Rizzo. (Photo: Phil Rizzo).

Rizzo improperly terminated campaign account during trial, FEC regulations show

The Federal Election Commission prohibits terminating campaign committees facing litigation, but Rizzo did it anyway while his Small Claims Court trial was underway

By David Wildstein, March 16 2023 5:18 pm

A $1,300 judgment against Phil Rizzo’s congressional campaign committee will force the ex-candidate to continue filing quarterly campaign finance disclosures with the Federal Election Commission until their debt to the Morris County Republican Committee is paid off.

After an extended bench trial in Small Claims Court that began in December, Superior Court Judge David Weaver ordered Rizzo for Congress to pay  $1,300 to the Morris County GOP for failing to pay them a fee to set up a table at their 2022 convention.  The county Republican organization filed a lawsuit last summer after Rizzo tried to stiff them out of the money Weaver found they agreed to pay.

Rizzo was seeking the 7th district congressional seat at the time.   He was crushed in the June primary by Tom Kean, Jr., who went on to capture the seat in the general election.

Despite the litigation, and while the trial was ongoing, Rizzo filed a termination report with the FEC on January 26, showing zero dollars cash-on-hand.

But that violation appears to be a violation of federal election law.

“If a committee is involved in an FEC enforcement action, audit, or litigation, it cannot terminate. The committee must file regularly until that matter is resolved,” the FEC regulations say.

The FEC instructs filers that a campaign must await notification from the FEC before they can stop filing.

“Committees shouldn’t stop filing just because they checked the ‘Termination Report’ box on their regular campaign finance disclosure form,” the FEC states in their instructions.  “Committees must file regularly scheduled reports until the Commission notifies them in writing that it has granted their request to terminate.”

Rizzo’s treasurer, David Satterfield, did not respond to a voicemail and email seeking comment.

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