• Todd Long defends self against accusations of misspending campaign money


    On Tuesday Republican Todd Long defended himself to WFTV about allegations he misspent campaign money.

    Long is running against Democrat Alan Grayson for the 9th Congressional District of Florida seat in the U.S. House.

    WFTV's Drew Petrimoulx found out the investigation was sparked by a letter sent to the Federal Elections Commission by the head of the Orange County Democratic Party.

    It accuses Long of stealing $44,000 from a previous campaign to buy copies of his book, 'The Conservative Comeback.'

    "It's like a mail piece, but it's much better than a mail piece, it's a whole book," said Long.

    But Long acknowledged that his book contract requires him to buy copies from the publisher.

    The complaint accuses Long of using campaign cash to buy books, so he didn't have to use his own money. It would be a major violation of federal election laws that bar candidates from using donations to fulfill personal financial commitments.

    WFTV asked Long about the accusations.

    "It's all false," he said.

    Long said he fulfilled the requirements of his publishing contract by buying books with his own money years before he bought books with campaign cash.

    Furthermore, Long said he did not receive any royalties from books bought with donations and he says they were all sent to constituents with required disclaimers.

    "There's nothing wrong with campaigns using material, mail pieces, whatever it is, to get their information to the public," said Long.

    WFTV contacted the Federal Elections Commission on Tuesday. A spokeswoman said they have received the complaint and have launched an investigation, but she would not discuss any details.

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