Far-right Oklahoma Senate candidate Jackson Lahmeyer allegedly violated numerous Federal Election Commission regulations in his July campaign quarterly report and failed to respond to the Commission’s request for further information. commission by Monday’s deadline.
According to the commission letter requesting additional information, sent to the Lahmeyer campaign on 23 August, the campaign broke three rules in its July report: who gave more than the authorized amount of $ 2,900, receipt of cash contributions in excess of the $ 100 limit, and incomplete identification of contributors who gave more than $ 2,900. $ 200.
The independent commission gave Lahmeyer’s campaign until September 27 to respond, or face possible enforcement. The campaign did not respond on Monday.
“Adequate responses must be received by the Commission on or before the due date stated above to be taken into consideration in determining whether an audit action will be initiated,” said Michael Dobi, senior finance analyst at campaign and reviewer for the commission, in the letter. “Failure to comply with the provisions of the Act may also result in coercive action against the committee. Any response submitted by your committee will be placed in the public file and will be examined by the Commission before taking any implementing action. Requests for an extension of the response time will not be taken into account.
Usually, after the commission sends a letter to a campaign detailing the violations, the campaign will respond with a correction. The correction is then taken into consideration by the committee to decide whether enforcement action will be taken.
Since Lahmeyer’s campaign did not respond on time, the corrections it submits will not be taken into account when the committee decides whether further action is needed.
According to the commission’s protocol, execution measures against Lahmeyer’s campaign will not be made public until the case is over. It is up to the analyst and “internal politics” to decide whether to go ahead with coercive measures, commission spokesman Christian Hilland said.
“We have civil jurisdiction over the campaign finance law, and that means we have the ability to consolidate and assess the civil sanction if they are found to be breaking the law,” Hilland said. .
Preston Smith, Lahmeyer’s treasurer for Senate Inc., said on Tuesday he had asked the campaign about the report but had not yet received it. Smith said the reports are compiled by the wife of campaign manager John Killian and that he checks them for compliance before submitting them to the commission.
Killian said he didn’t know there was a deadline for filing the response to the commission until The Transcript asked questions on Tuesday about why it wasn’t submitted before. the deadline.
“I told them they had to do it,” Killian said. “I didn’t know there was a deadline. Preston [Smith] never told me there was a deadline.
The three violations listed by the FEC are detailed in the letter. Lahmeyer’s campaign provided The Transcript with proof that one of the violations was a data entry error, but they did not provide that proof to the FEC on time.
According to the July Quarterly Report, the campaign raised over $ 15,000 in illegal cash donations.
The transcript questioned Smith about these contributions on August 18, prior to the commission’s letter, and he provided credit card statements for the alleged illegal cash contributions that proved it was a data entry error. . But Smith and the Lahmeyer campaign did not table that explanation in a response to the commission that could have prevented an audit.
Another violation was to accept more than the limit of $ 2,900 in contributions from a single donor. Richard Kley donated $ 3,000, according to the July Quarterly Report.
The campaign did not respond to questions from The Transcript regarding this contribution.
The latest violation listed was the campaign’s failure to identify donors who have contributed more than $ 200, as required by FEC law. According to the request for additional information, the “employer and occupation entries” attached to the campaign on the report “are not considered acceptable”.
“If the information is not provided, you should make an independent monitoring effort to obtain that information, whether or not the contribution (s) have been solicited,” Dobi said in the letter. “This effort must take place no later than 30 days after receipt of the contribution and may take the form of a written request or an oral request documented in writing.
A review of the transcript of the reports also revealed that Lahmeyer’s campaign failed to disclose payments made to Smith, his campaign treasurer, and Tomahawk Strategies, campaign advisers.
Commission rules require that all campaign expenses, including people working for the campaign, be disclosed on records. If they are working for the campaign for free, the campaign must disclose the contribution as an “in-kind donation.”
Smith, who confirmed to The Transcript that he was being paid, did not appear on any of the campaign’s quarterly reports. Smith was campaign treasurer for Representative Kevin Hern, R-Tulsa, in 2018 and was paid around $ 3,000 per month, according to the commission’s records.
Tomahawk Strategies also worked with Hern’s campaign in September 2018 and charged the campaign a fee of $ 1,800, commission deposits show.
Tomahawk managing partner Josh Wagoner has confirmed that the firm is billing Lahmeyer a monthly retainer. He said he did not know why these payments were not disclosed in the commission’s reports.
The commission also sent outgoing Senator James Lankford a letter detailing an alleged violation – in his case, having received more than the amount allocated in contributions from a PAC – on his quarterly report in April.
Lankford’s campaign quickly corrected the violation, responding the next day to tell the FEC that the “Let’s Get To Work PAC contribution was posted under the wrong committee ID” and that “the information has been corrected. on this report. “