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FEC to probe Long Island Congressional candidate over affiliation with billionaire couple

A Long Island congressional candidate is urging the feds to probe whether a rival boosted his campaign coffers by funneling money there from a billionaire couple who covered at least $50,000 of his college tuition payments through a loan.

In a letter sent to Federal Election Commission lawyers Friday demanding a probe, Robert Zimmerman’s campaign cited last week’s story in The Post, which quoted election law experts saying the loan to fellow Democratic candidate Josh Lafazan deserves serious scrutiny.

Considering records show Lafazan was wealthy enough to plunk $166,000 of his own cash into his campaign coffers, the experts said he could have easily used that same money to pay his student loans.

“The FEC should investigate whether the initial loan was itself intended to influence and be funneled to the campaign or whether it was simply intended to free up other funds for the campaign,” said Zimmerman’s campaign manager Evan Chernack.

Both Zimmerman, a PR maven and longtime Democratic National Committee member, and Lafazan, a Nassau County legislator, are frontrunners in the Aug. 23 primary for the 3rd District seat representing Long Island’s northern shore and a small sliver of Queens.

Lafazan reported receiving a September 2020 “student loan” totaling $50,000 to $100,000 from billionaire investor Bryan Lawrence and his wife Elizabeth, according to his financial filings.

Besides the loan, the Lawrences donated a total of $20,300 to Lafazan’s congressional campaign. Records also show the campaign had to give Bryan Lawrence back $5,800 because he exceeded the maximum amount allowed during the election cycle.

Under federal election law, Lafazan can accept such a loan because it predates the start of his congressional candidacy earlier this year — provided the money is used for his college payments.

The FEC declined comment.

Neil Reiff, a lawyer for Lafazan’s campaign, said “this complaint is both wrong on its facts and the law, and is without any merit.”

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