Tag Archives: FEC

Report Shows DesJarlais Drained Campaign Account With Late Spending

By Eric Schelzig, Associated Press
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — While Republican U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais may have persevered through a series of damaging revelations to win a second term in Congress, he all but exhausted his campaign account.
DesJarlais, a Jasper physician who had sexual relationships with patients and once urged one of them to seek an abortion, spent $1.25 million on his campaign to defeat Democratic challenger Eric Stewart, and was left with just $15,660 on hand when the dust settled.
DesJarlais has been left largely isolated in Congress following his victory. For example, he was the lone Republican member of Tennessee’s congressional delegation to be left off Lamar Alexander’s bid for a third term in the U.S. Senate.
But DesJarlais has rebuffed calls for his resignation or that he abandon intentions to run for another term representing the 4th Congressional District. That hasn’t stopped several Republicans from expressing interest in running for the seat, and DesJarlais’ depleted campaign coffers will do little to dissuade them from mounting a bid.
DesJarlais spent $439,639 in the final reporting period, with about $330,000 going toward TV advertising and $61,000 to direct mail. (Note: The FEC website says his total spending for the campaign was $1,257,629; the remaining balance, $15,660.)
During his 2010 and 2012 campaigns, DesJarlais tried to cast doubt on reports of violent behavior and multiple affairs before his divorce was finalized in 2001. But court transcripts released the week after the election showed he admitted to eight affairs, encouraged a lover to get an abortion and used a gun to intimidate his ex-wife during an argument.
The sworn testimony also revealed for the first time that the congressman had agreed when his ex-wife had two abortions. DesJarlais publicly opposes abortion rights.
The Tennessee Department of Health has begun an investigation into a complaint filed by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington that DesJarlais should be disciplined for conducting an inappropriate sexual relationship with a patient. The watchdog group has also filed an ethics complaint in the U.S. House.
Among the other freshman Republicans who won second terms, Rep. Diane Black of Gallatin was left with $336,203 on hand after spending $3.2 million in the cycle, including $1 million in loans repaid to herself from her 2010 bid. Chattanooga Rep. Chuck Fleischmann had about $51,000 on hand, while Rep. Steven Fincher of Halls had $1.5 million.

Cooper Expects FEC to OK Texting for Dollars

The small print at the bottom of ads for federal politicians may soon get a new wrinkle — one that tells you to contribute to candidate X or Y by texting on your mobile phone, reports The Tennessean.
The proposal comes from Rep. Jim Cooper, D-Nashville, who said he expects the Federal Election Commission to give its final approval to the idea sometime this week.
“More and more people use their phones for just about anything,” Cooper said in an interview. “It’s so convenient.”
A whole generation of Americans, he added, has grown up with texting as central to their lifestyles. And Americans are used to texting to donate to charities of all kinds.
Different candidates, Cooper said, would have different five-digit codes that could be listed on their advertising.
The idea is to encourage more people to contribute to campaigns through small-dollar donations, counteracting the influence of millionaires and billionaires who max out in their contributions to candidates and political action committees and give unlimited amounts to Super PACs and other groups.
“It allows small donors to have a louder voice,” Cooper said

Herron Sues Over FEC’s Ruling on Fincher Loan

The Herron for Congress committee has sued the Federal Election Commission for what it calls its “arbitrary” and “capricious” abuse of its discretion in dismissing a complaint against U.S. Rep. Stephen Fincher’s committee concerning a campaign loan, reports the Commercial Appeal.
The lawsuit, filed in federal district court here, says the commission’s staff failed to establish that the $250,000 bank loan met election law requirements that it be collateralized to give the bank a security interest that assured repayment.
Republican Fincher beat state Sen. Roy Herron, D-Dresden, in last year’s 8th Congressional District race. The lawsuit alleges that the loan’s collateral, which included Fincher’s and his wife’s residence and the value of 2010 crops owned by them and others, was not a sound legal basis for the Gates Banking and Trust Co. making the loan.
Fincher’s father had served on the board of the bank and its chairman made contributions to Fincher’s campaign committee.

More on Fincher and the FEC

Rep. Stephen Fincher and federal election officials agree on this much: The Tennessee Republican violated campaign finance laws last year by inadvertently misreporting the source of a $250,000 bank loan to his campaign. But they disagree on a central question in the now-closed case: Could he have corrected the error more quickly?
Further excerpt from a Jackson Sun story on the matter:
Elliot Berke, Fincher’s campaign lawyer, says no.
Democratic members of the Federal Election Commission disagree. In June, they voted to fine Fincher, R-Frog Jump, saying his campaign committee had “failed to take prompt corrective action,” according to a statement they released last week.
That statement was among documents released after the FEC’s six commissioners — three Democrats and three Republicans — deadlocked June 14 on whether to fine Fincher up to $7,500.
In one vote, the three Democrats voted for a fine. In another, the three Republicans voted for a warning letter instead of a fine. Four votes are needed to impose a penalty.
Ultimately, the commission voted 5-1 to dismiss the case. In FEC campaign finance reports filed in July last year, Fincher said the loan came from personal funds. In fact, it came from Gates Banking and Trust Co., according to a legal analysis written by FEC lawyers and released last week
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FEC Commissioners Agreed That Fincher Violated Law… and Then to Dismiss Complaint

All six Federal Election Commission members endorsed a finding that U.S. Rep. Stephen Fincher’s campaign violated campaign disclosure requirements, records released today reveal, according to Bartholomew Sullivan.
But they did it in separate 3-3 votes and it takes four votes to pass a motion.
Ultimately they voted 5-1 to dismiss the complaint filed by Fincher’s Democratic opponent, state Sen. Roy Herron, in last year’s 8th Congressional District race. The commission is made up of three Democratic and three Republican members and requires a majority vote to proceed to an investigation.
Fincher’s election law lawyer Elliott S. Berke, released a statement today in response to a request from The Commercial Appeal: “Congressman Fincher and his campaign committee are pleased this matter is now closed and that the FEC, by a vote of 5-1, agreed to do so without any further action.”
Herron also released a statement: “The gospel singer did not tell the gospel truth during the campaign when he repeatedly said the Federal Election Commission had approved of what he’d done.”
Referring to the separate 3-3 findings, in which all six commissioners found Fincher’s committee violated the law, Herron added: “Instead, all six commissioners, including the three Republicans, ruled that he broke federal law. The FEC has now ruled we have a law breaker for a lawmaker.”
The inaction involved the commission’s disagreement over the consequences of the violation. It follows a recommendation by the FEC’s chief lawyers that the commission find that the Fincher committee and its treasurer, Phyllis Patterson, violated the law regarding accurate reporting of a loan when they told the FEC it came from “personal funds” when, in fact, it came from the Gates Banking and Trust Co.

FEC Drops Probe of Fincher’s Campaign Finances

The Federal Election Commission met over complaints that U.S. Rep. Stephen Fincher, R-Tenn., violated election laws regarding filing requirements and a loan to his campaign but there was “an insufficient number of votes” to support them, according to a commission lawyer.
More from the Commercial Appeal story:
In an undated letter to Fincher’s lawyer, Elliot S. Berke, Acting Deputy Associate General Counsel for Enforcement Susan L. Lebeaux wrote that three violations were reviewed. The six-member commission, which is equally divided between Democrats and Republicans, needs a majority vote to take action. As a result, Lebeaux wrote, “the commission has closed its file in this matter.”
Fincher’s $250,000 bank loan from the Gates Banking and Trust Co., where his father was on the board of directors, was a major issue in the waning days of last year’s campaign against Democratic state Sen. Roy Herron of Dresden. That was in part because Fincher filed a statement to the House clerk indicating he had no assets or liabilities. Those reports were amended after he took office in January.
A complaint to the U.S. Attorney’s Office over Fincher’s financial disclosures was made by Covington lawyer J. Houston Gordon, a former Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate, at about the time the FEC began looking into the matter last year.
Herron said Thursday evening that he would have no comment until he had reviewed the letter and learned how the commission voted.