A Lengthy Island pol in a aggressive congressional race had a billionaire couple cowl a minimum of $50,000 of his faculty tuition funds.
Nassau County Legislator Josh Lafazan, a Democratic frontrunner within the Aug. 23 major for the seat representing Long Island’s northern shore, listed in current monetary disclosure filings that billionaire investor Bryan Lawrence and his spouse Elizabeth are a “creditor” who supplied him a “scholar mortgage” totaling $50,001 to $100,000 in September 2020.
Beneath federal election legislation, Lafazan can settle for such assist as a result of it predates the beginning of his congressional candidacy earlier this 12 months.
Nevertheless, election legislation specialists say it actually violates the spirit of legislation limiting particular person donations — or probably worse — contemplating information present Lafazan was rich sufficient to funnel $166,000 of his personal cash into his marketing campaign coffers. They are saying he may have simply used that very same money to pay his scholar loans.
Moreover the mortgage, the Lawrences donated a complete of $20,300 to Lafazan’s congressional marketing campaign. Data additionally present the marketing campaign gave Bryan Lawrence again $5,800 as a result of he exceeded the utmost quantity allowed in the course of the election cycle.
Jerry Goldfeder, a longtime election lawyer, advised The Submit the mortgage “might be construed” by the Federal Election Fee as an “oblique cost” or “oblique switch of cash” to Lafazan, which enabled him to contribute money to his marketing campaign that was “legitimately not his personal.”
“The FEC seems very rigorously on the sources of a candidate’s cash when they’re making big contributions or loans to their very own marketing campaign as a result of it must be their very own cash legitimately,” he mentioned.
The FEC declined remark.
The 28-year-old county legislator can be employed as an advisor for Northwell Well being, and he reported incomes greater than $184,000 final 12 months. He holds a doctorate in training from College of Pennsylvania and a grasp’s diploma in training from Harvard College, according to his LinkedIn page.
Kim Devlin, an advisor for Lafazan’s marketing campaign defended the association with the Lawrences, saying “the details are that Josh was capable of get a mortgage for graduate faculty from a pal as an alternative of a financial institution or faculty mortgage firm. He absolutely disclosed it on his public monetary disclosure, and it was a mortgage that was made properly earlier than his run for Congress.”
Lafazan is searching for to change into one of many youngest members of Congress. He entered race for the third District seat — which features a sliver of northeast Queens and northwest and central Nassau County — after Democratic incumbent Tom Suozzi determined to not search re-election and mount a failed marketing campaign for governor.
As of June 30, information present Lafazan had raised $1.53 million for the race — essentially the most of any Democratic major candidate. Others operating embrace PR maven and longtime Democratic Nationwide Committee member Robert Zimmerman and Deputy Suffolk County Government Jon Kaiman.
Republican George Santos, a financier, would be the GOP nominee. He misplaced to Suozzi two years in the past, however specialists say the Republicans have an actual likelihood of taking the seat this 12 months with no incumbent operating.