TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (CNS) – Democratic state candidates now face attack ads from their Republican opponents, accusing their campaigns of receiving funds from a pandemic aid loan for small businesses .

The loan was guaranteed by the Florida Democratic Party earlier this year, but candidates facing the attacks are calling it deceptive and bogus.

You may have received a letter, or even seen a television commercial, accusing a local candidate of receiving funds from a $ 780,000 P3 loan guaranteed by the Democratic Party in May.

A TV spot targets Democratic candidate for the State Senate, Loranne Ausley.

“They took those dollars, took them to a committee and then gave them to their candidates,” said Evan Power, Chairman of the Leon County Republican Party.

Ausley is one of the three candidates targeted.

She called the ads a distraction.

“People are really hurting and they want us to talk about how we’re going to fix these issues,” Ausley said.

A public financial report released in August shows the Florida Democratic Party repaid the original loan, with interest.

“All the candidates who are involved in this case condemned the party for taking the funds and together with everyone we demanded that the money be returned. The money was returned,” Ausley said.

All of the targeted candidates deny that the money reached their campaign accounts, but Republicans argue that there is no way to prove it one way or another.

“They took that million dollars of taxpayer dollars that was supposed to save jobs and gave it out and had a benefit the moment they sent it out,” Power said.

According to financial reports from the Florida Democratic Executive Committee, the Party has received a total of more than $ 815,000 in CARES Act loans.

The payment he made in August still leaves nearly $ 34,000 unpaid, but Mark Herron, a lawyer representing the Party, told us the outstanding balance was a mistake.

“I have been advised that an amendment has been tabled to correct the error and we expect it to be released later today,” Herron said in an email Thursday afternoon.

Copyright 2020 Capitole News Service. All rights reserved.