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Who is Thomas Datwyler, the name behind 'Dan Cox for U.S. Congress'?

Jul. 7—The individual listed as the treasurer of "Dan Cox for U.S. Congress" — a political action committee connected to a mysterious candidate filing in Cox's name — has a track record of violating Federal Election Commission rules, according to the agency.

Thomas Datwyler is a compliance consultant whose address is recorded on FEC forms as a P.O. box in Hudson, Wisconsin. He made national headlines earlier this year after Republican U.S. Rep. George Santos' campaign indicated that Datwyler was its treasurer, even though Datwyler had apparently turned down the job, according to an attorney speaking on his behalf.

On his LinkedIn profile, Datwyler lists his place of work as 9Seven Consulting — a corporation that advertises virtual treasury services for small businesses and campaigns.

In 2023 alone, FEC records indicate that Datwyler has paid more than $20,000 in administrative fines after the agency found reason to believe that he violated federal campaign finance reporting requirements in his official capacity as treasurer for multiple congressional committees.

These committees include:

—Joe Kent for Congress, which was ordered to pay $3,304 in fines after failing to file notices for $29,600 worth of contributions. Joe Kent was a congressional candidate in Washington state.

—Rodney for Congress, which was ordered to pay $5,820 in fines after failing to file notices for $55,000 worth of contributions. Rodney Davis was a congressional candidate in Illinois.

—Friends of McCormick, which was ordered to pay $11,350 in fines after failing to file notice of $105,500 worth of contributions. Rich McCormick was a congressional candidate in Georgia.

According to the FEC, Datwyler still serves as treasurer for each of the three committees, all of which represent Republican candidates for the U.S. House of Representatives who ran in the 2022 midterm election.

Datwyler did not respond to The Frederick News-Post's requests for comment on Thursday and Friday through email addresses and phone numbers connected to his consulting firm and a listing through the FEC.

During the midterms, Datwyler also served as treasurer of Citizens for Josh Mandel Inc. Josh Mandel, a Republican, ran for the U.S. Senate in Ohio.

Although Datwyler no longer serves as the Mandel committee's treasurer, FEC records indicate that Citizens for Josh Mandel Inc. owes $15,080 in past-due fines as a result of Datwyler's failure to file notices for $147,601 worth of contributions.

Another campaign for which Datwyler served as treasurer was the subject of an FBI investigation that resulted in the prosecution of three government contractors for making illegal campaign contributions to U.S. Sen Susan Collins of Maine. Neither the committee, 1820 PAC, nor Datwyler in his capacity as treasurer was held liable.

Datwyler's recent interactions with the FEC raise additional questions about "Dan Cox for U.S. Congress," which was moved to the FEC's list of unverified filings after Cox filed to terminate the candidacy and the committee.

Reached by phone on Thursday, Cox, a Republican who lives in Frederick County, referred to his social media postings, in which he replied to news accounts of his candidacy by saying he did not file and had reported it to the FEC.

He declined to comment further to the News-Post.

Cox has told Maryland Matters that he is still considering whether he wants to run for Congress next year.

According to the FEC's review and referral procedures, false or fictitious filings may be referred to the agency's enforcement division once the filer has been afforded 35 days from the date of filing to clarify any discrepancies.