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Candidate admits funneling $25K from relative into campaign

Guilty plea made by Lynda Bennett, who lost 2020 primary despite Trump's backing

Lynda Bennett, a 2020 House candidate, admitted to campaign finance violations after being charged by the Justice Department.
Lynda Bennett, a 2020 House candidate, admitted to campaign finance violations after being charged by the Justice Department. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A 2020 Republican candidate who lost her campaign to fill former Rep. Mark Meadows’ seat after he became White House chief of staff pleaded guilty Wednesday to breaking campaign finance laws by concealing the source of some of the money she loaned her campaign, the Justice Department said in a news release.

Lynda Bennett, 65, of Maggie Valley, N.C., was accused of borrowing $25,000 from a relative and then using it in what was reported as an $80,000 personal loan to her campaign in December 2019.

Bennett “knowingly and willfully” broke campaign finance laws by reporting “that the full $80,000 was a loan to her campaign using her own personal funds, rather than disclosing that $25,000 of that amount was a loan from another individual,” said the news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the District of Columbia.

Donors in 2019 were limited to giving no more than $2,800 to candidates per election. Bennett pleaded guilty to one count of accepting contributions in the name of another and is scheduled to be sentenced on June 20.

Bennett had the endorsement of Meadows and then-President Donald Trump in her bid for Meadows’ old 11th District seat in North Carolina. She lost the 2020 primary to 24-year-old Madison Cawthorn, who was one of the youngest people ever elected to the House when he won the seat in November. Cawthorn lost the primary when he ran for reelection in 2022.

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