Email Scandal May Plague Debbie Wasserman Schultz's Congressional Re-election Bid

Her main challenger for Florida 23rd Congressional district seat says he will file a complaint alleging she broke election rules.

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DNC Chairwoman, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., speaks during a Florida delegation breakfast, Philadelphia, U.S., July 25, 2016.
DNC Chairwoman, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., speaks during a Florida delegation breakfast, Philadelphia, U.S., July 25, 2016.Credit: Matt Slocum, AP
Susan Cornwell

REUTERS - An email leak that led to the resignation of Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz could plague her bid for re-election to Congress, after a challenger said he would file a complaint alleging she had broken election rules.

Political newcomer Tim Canova, who is challenging Wasserman Schultz in the Aug. 30 Democratic primary for her House of Representatives seat representing Florida's 23rd Congressional District, said he would file the complaint against her with the U.S. Federal Election Commission.

Wasserman Schultz said on Sunday she would be stepping down as chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee after Wikileaks released more than 19,000 emails showing Democratic officials had worked to undermine U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders in his presidential primary battle with Hillary Clinton.

Canova suggested that the leaked emails also showed Wasserman Schultz had used the party's resources in her congressional campaign against Canova in south Florida. Sanders has endorsed Canova in that race.

“The Wikileaks emails indicate that Debbie Wasserman Schultz used DNC resources to assist her reelection campaign in violation of federal law. According to the emails, top DNC officials used party resources to monitor, respond to, and impede my campaign on numerous occasions," Canova said in a statement emailed to Reuters by his campaign.

"My campaign election lawyers are investigating these circumstances and preparing a complaint against Wasserman Schultz with the Federal Election Commission," Canova said. He also repeated his call for a series of campaign debates with Wasserman Schultz.

Searching for Canova's name in the cache of emails released by WikiLeaks turned up dozens of emails. One indicated Wasserman Schultz had asked staffers to take Canova's name out of a headline on a statement that was being sent out in response to Sanders's endorsement of Canova.

Sanders told CNN in May that he favored Canova, saying "His views are much closer to mine than as to Wasserman Schultz's."

Canova's south Florida campaign for Congress has reflected some of the themes that Sanders used nationwide to appeal to progressives, including a push for campaign finance reform.

Canova has also been a critic of financial deregulation and the Federal Reserve Board under former Chairman Alan Greenspan, according to his biography on the website at Nova Southeastern University, where he is a professor of law and public finance.

Sanders made attacks on Wall Street a central theme of his presidential campaign, and called for structural reforms in the Fed.

Since Sanders' endorsement, Canova has almost caught up with Wasserman Schultz in fundraising. Canova has raised $2.27 million so far; Wasserman Schultz has raised $2.81 million, according to the most recent Federal Election Commission filings.

There are also two Republicans seeking Wasserman Schultz's seat in Congress, Martin Feigenbaum and Joe Kaufman.

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