The FEC has dismissed a complaint of a campaign finance law...

The FEC has dismissed a complaint of a campaign finance law violation against  Rep. Nick LaLota (R-Amityville), citing the complaint's low rating in FEC priorities and its “low dollar amount." Credit: Newsday/Alejandra Villa Loarca

WASHINGTON — The Federal Election Commission has dismissed a liberal group’s complaint of a campaign-finance law violation against Rep. Nick LaLota (R-Amityville) without addressing the merits of the case.

End Citizens United, an advocacy group aligned with Democrats, filed a complaint on April 17, 2023, alleging LaLota made prohibited in-kind and monetary transfers of $1,525 from his state campaign committee to his federal campaign fund. LaLota denied the allegations.

On Friday, the FEC posted its decision to exercise its prosecutorial discretion to dismiss the complaint, citing its low rating in FEC priorities and its “low dollar amount.”

“The FEC very rarely takes any action on complaints where the amount of money involved is less than $10,000, so the dismissals on the basis of prosecutorial discretion aren’t surprising,” said campaign finance attorney Brett Kappel, who is not involved in the case.

The agency also dismissed End Citizens United’s complaint filed that same day in April of last year against Rep. Marc Molinaro (R-Red Hook), but did not post a decision on the groups’ complaint against Rep. Anthony D’Esposito (R-Island Park).

“This complaint was not newsworthy six months ago and its subsequent and predictable dismissal is not newsworthy today,” LaLota said Monday. He added it is the first of “what will be many unserious and partisan attacks from liberal dark money groups.”

End Citizens United communications director Jonas Edwards-Jenks expressed disappointment with the FEC's decisions, but said dismissal of the complaint against LaLota should not be seen “as an exoneration." Molinaro returned the money in question to his state campaign fund and LaLota should do the same, Edwards-Jenks said.

The D'Esposito complaint alleged that after he declared his candidacy for Congress in March 2022, he spent his local campaign funds to help his federal campaign with a Washington post office box, ads, cellphones, office rent and $97,000 for a golf fundraiser to raise his profile.

D’Esposito's spokesman, Matt Capp, denied the congressman violated any law and called the complaint a “baseless partisan attack.”

Kappel said: “The fact that the D’Esposito complaint wasn’t disposed of at the same time, however, may mean that the FEC General Counsel’s Office believes there may be enough to recommend an investigation in that case.”

Correction: Rep. Anthony D'Esposito, of Island Park, is a Republican. A previous version of this story misstated his party affiliation.

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