Yesterday, I broke a story about a recent Republican fundraising event that called into question potential violations of numerous Federal campaign finance laws.
And then a funny thing happened. Congressman Womack and I ended up agreeing on something: The GOP House Caucus should return all the money received from their improper NWA fundraiser.
You must give credit where credit is due and Womack, while involved in an improper fundraising event, is doing the right thing by asking for the money to be refunded and self-reporting to the FEC. Smart PR and smart politics. I know some of my Democratic friends will hate to read that.
When I was Executive Director for the Democratic Party of Arkansas, I discovered first-hand how tricky Federal campaign finance laws were and we constantly vetted various issues with our attorneys. However, in the case of this GOP fundraising event, someone(s) fell down on the job. No need to know who they are, but whoever they are they’re probably having a bad day.
House Minority Leader John Burris in a statement released today acknowledged that Federal regulations were not followed and that the mistakes were unintentional. Let’s also give credit to Rep. Burris for noting that federal regulations were not properly followed. Also smart politics.
Burris says the Caucus will make "a good faith effort to contact all donors to our June 28 event, and will return contributions received in connection with the event as desired so that each contribution raised from the event meets the requirements of both Arkansas and federal law."
Since I’ve put together these types of events before, I can understand how these mistakes happened.
However, since this fundraiser appears to have violated numerous Federal regulations, I believe the GOP House Caucus should follow Congressman Womack’s request and return all of the funds and host another fundraiser in the future. While the mistakes were unintentional, you still gotta follow Federal regulations A "good faith" effort to return some of the money doesn’t fully solve the problem and the remaining funds are still tainted by the improper way they were raised.
Womacks’s Chief of Staff Beau Walker said in regards to the money raised at the NWA event, "We’ve requested that the money be returned."
I couldn’t agree more.