Nov. 15 (UPI) -- The Department of Justice has opened a criminal investigation into Ross Spano over allegations he committed campaign finance violations during his 2018 election, the House Ethics committee said.
The committee said Thursday in a statement that the Justice Department asked it to stop its own review into allegations that Spano, 53, used funds loaned to him by friends last year to fund his campaign.
"The Department of Justice has asked the committee to defer consideration of this matter and the committee, following precedent, unanimously voted to defer consideration of this matter at this time," the committee said.
The committee said in September it was investigating allegations that the Republican Florida lawmaker elected in November 2018 used $180,000 in loans from friends to fund his campaign while stating it was a personal loan. The Federal Election Commission states that an individual is only able to give $2,800 per election.
Spano said in a statement Thursday that he plans to fully cooperate with the Justice Department.
"As I've said before, we acknowledged that mistakes were made with respect to the campaign loans, but those mistakes were completely inadvertent and unintentional. We were the ones who self-reported this to the FEC," he said. "We are confident that upon review, the Justice Department will see it that way, too."
The freshman lawmaker said that he has doubts over the timing and motive behind the investigation, suggesting that his opponents may be behind it.