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Bachmann campaign receives warning letters from the FEC

Looks like someone (Michele Bachmann and her 'GOP superstar' treasurer Keith Davis) has some 'splainin' to do (to the FEC.) I posted a while back about Keith Davis' repeated run-ins with the FEC over his use of "Victory Committees" to hold joint fundraisers, and speculated that the Michele Bachmann Victory Fund could be one of the committees under investigation. Looks like I was right.

The first letter (available here), from July 21st, requests additional information about the Bachmann Minnesota Victory Committee (the name seems to change every time!) and states, citing USC 432(e)(4), that

"any political committee which is not an authorized committee...shall not include the name of any candidate in its name."

Further, it requests that the committee change its name to remove the Bachmann brand, due to the fact that

a joint fundraising committee with an unauthorized committee as a participant cannot include the name of a candidate in its name, ...since the unauthorized committee participant has supported other candidates.

The letter threatens an audit or further action if an "adequate response" is not accomplished by August 21st.

There is a second letter in the FEC database as well, this one dated July 26th. It details a host of issues raised by the committee's 2nd quarter filing, including disbursements to other campaign committees (the RNC and Bachmann for Congress), and requests additional details for vaguely-worded disbursements such as "fundraising consulting fees," "printing," and "office supplies." An interesting question is raised by the letter: with no payments listed for "administrative expenses," is this committee really separate from the Bachmann for Congress committee? The letter states,

I

f these expenses are being paid by a connected organization, your Statement of Organization must be amended to reflect this relationship.

This letter, too, threatens possible audits or other repercussions if an "adequate response" is not received by August 25th. The letter says that any response will be in the public record. We will be waiting to see what the Bachmann campaign has to say about the FEC's concerns.

Research on the Wetterling campaign indicates that no such "requests for additional information" have been filed this quarter for the Wetterling campaign, but one was filed in the '04 cycle regarding a single discrepancy with a contribution received very close to the day of the election.

Thanks to Karl Bremer for the tip-off to the Bachmann letters.

Comments

I expect shaming does not work. Money pays for TV.

If more is better than less, and some people will pay more; limits can be exceeded in individual donor cases, other dotting i's and crossing t's can be scoffed at, and things can always be "straightened up" without anyone going to jail. That seems the pattern.

If the consequences of a traffic ticket were nil, everyone could speed as greatly and as often as traffic permits.

Some would still follow the speed limit - those exceeding it would reach a destination sooner.

If there is no real official sanction, and no great public awareness and disapprobation; why not cheat?