Federal elections officials have fined Ted Cruz’s Senate campaign $35,000 for failing to report more than $1 million in bank loans he used to finance his successful long-shot race in Texas in 2012.
The penalty was part of a settlement reached by the Federal Election Commission and Mr. Cruz’s Senate campaign in February and disclosed in a letter this week from the commission to the Campaign Legal Center, a watchdog group that had filed a complaint over the unreported loans.
The fine comes more than three years after the loans were revealed by The New York Times in January 2016 and became a political issue for Mr. Cruz during the Republican presidential primary. The Times article showed how Mr. Cruz claimed to have liquidated his family’s wealth and put it into his 2012 campaign, when in fact he had borrowed money from Goldman Sachs and Citibank without disclosing it on campaign filings.
Mr. Cruz initially described his actions as a clerical oversight, saying he had disclosed the loans on a different set of reports, filed with the Senate, that detailed his personal income, assets and debts. But those reports did not explain what the loans were used for, and he failed to disclose them, as required, on filings with the election commission, which would have showed the $1,064,000 from the two banks was used for campaign purposes.
On Friday, the Cruz campaign issued a statement adhering to its earlier explanation of how the loans were handled.
“As has repeatedly been reported, the loans were public at the time and fully disclosed on Senate ethics disclosures, but they weren’t reported correctly on the FEC forms,” the campaign said in a statement. “This agreed settlement resolves that filing mistake once and for all.”
During the Republican primary in 2016, Donald J. Trump, a candidate at the time, used the issue to taunt Mr. Cruz, saying Goldman Sachs had “total control” over him and calling the failure to report the loans “a very big thing.”
President Trump now has his own campaign finance problems, having been accused of arranging to pay off an adult film star, who claimed she had an affair with him, shortly before the November 2016 election. Federal prosecutors have described the transactions as a violation of campaign finance laws.
In Mr. Cruz’s case, the Campaign Legal Center filed its complaint in January 2016 in response to the article in The Times. A year later, the election commission, in a rare unanimous vote, accepted the conclusions of its staff that Mr. Cruz’s campaign had not complied with the law.
Tara Malloy, a senior director at the legal center, said that Mr. Cruz’s failure to properly report his loans meant that in “the homestretch of a high-profile election, voters were misled about Cruz’s personal and campaign finances.”
“Candidates should take seriously their legal requirement to disclose where their campaign money comes from,” she said.