GOP Congress Hopeful Maryott Didn’t Keep Promise on FEC Filings, Group Says

Republican Brian Maryott was trailing incumbent Rep. Mike Levin by about 6 points in the 49th District.
Republican Brian Maryott, speaking at the U.S. Grant Hotel, was trailing Rep. Mike Levin in the 49th District.
Republican Brian Maryott, speaking at the U.S. Grant Hotel, lost to Rep. Mike Levin in the 49th District in 2020. Photo by Chris Stone

A Democratic-aligned watchdog group is calling out Republican congressional candidate Brian Maryott for not fulfilling a promise to amend his financial disclosures.

In August, End Citizens United found public Venmo records that suggest Maryott and his committee — with him as treasurer — made payments via that mobile app to campaign staffers. The group filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission.

Maryott — challenging 49th District incumbent Rep. Mike Levin for a second time — assailed ECU as a “liberal activist group” but vowed to correct “a handful of honest reporting mistakes” made before the campaign was in full swing.

Two months ago, the former San Juan Capistrano mayor said: “We will work quickly and proactively to take the common step of amending our filing, if that turns out to be necessary.”

This week, End Citizens United said it found no record of amended FEC filings.

“For example, in January and February 2021, Maryott made ‘reimbursement’ payments to Ricky Guthridge, a campaign staffer,” the group told Times of San Diego. “The FEC website shows no such reimbursements in early 2021, which is when those Venmo payments were made.”

On Thursday, Maryott campaign manager Megan House said: “In the interest of being thorough, we asked our compliance firm to review the in-kinds. We’ll let you know if/when there are amended reports, and of course they will be immediately public.”

But End Citizens United spokesman Bawadden Sayed said: “Brian Maryott continues to disregard the law. His campaign acknowledged wrongdoing, but neither ‘quickly’ or ‘proactively’ amended his reports. It was a lie.”

He said Maryott’s failure to report such payments is “a red flag and raises more questions about what else he may be hiding.”

Times of San Diego contacted Levin’s campaign in the purple district straddling coastal San Diego and Orange counties.

“Brian Maryott needs to explain why he lied to voters when he said he would fix his campaign finance violations,” Levin spokesman Eric Mee said in response. “There is no excuse for his blatant disregard of basic transparency and accountability rules. Voters in this district deserve better.”

According to the poll-watching website, Levin’s chances of winning re-election are 84 in 100. In 2020, Levin defeated Maryott 53.1% to 46.9%.

Levin also leads in the money race. According to filings as of September 30, Levin has raised $4.45 million and spent $3.93 million — compared with Maryott taking in $3.66 million and spending $3.12 million.

Levin listed having $2 million cash on hand, and Maryott nearly $500,000.

It isn’t known whether Maryott is still paying staff via Venmo, however.

“They ended up changing their Venmo settings to private, so we can’t see what has taken place since the screenshots that were included in the initial complaint,” ECU’s Sayed said Friday.

Updated at 11:45 a.m. Oct. 21, 2022