State Republicans today bragged in a Talk Business article about raising $25,000-$30,000 with a NWA fundraiser featuring Congressman Steve Womack. The funds are earmarked for their plans to elect Republican legislative candidates next year.
Here’s the problem: Congressman Womack and State Republicans may have dramatically violated federal campaign finance regulations with their recent fundraiser.
Federal office-holders are prohibited from personally raising soft money (read corporate) or appearing at fundraisers where soft money is raised. The Federal Election Commission (FEC) requires specific language on all fundraising invitations explicitly stating that only certain types of money can be raised at the event. That money must be from individuals or federal PACs. Womack was a co-host for the fundraiser, along with Lt. Governor Mark Darr, Republican legislators and corporate (read soft money) sponsors.
The invitation below featuring Congressman Womack fails to follow federal regulations requiring specific language when a federal office-holder hosts a fundraiser where soft money (read corporate) is raised. More importantly than the written invitation, it appears the actual fundraising event may have violated federal regulations since J.B Hunt, Tyson, Cox Communications apparently were paid sponsors of the event. If any money raised at this event was from corporate accounts, then we may have some serious campaign finance violations to discuss.
If it turns out this was an improper fundraiser with Congressman Womack, will state Republicans return the $25,000-$30,000 they raised at the NWA fundraiser?