GOP lawmaker facing allegations of 'massive violations' after FEC audit reveals he lent money to his own campaign
A Republican lawmaker who is facing a barrage of allegations for lending money to his own election campaign now has another hurdle to explain. Rep. Mike Braun (R-Ind.) is at the center of controversy following the release of the Federal Election Commission's (FEC) audit of the lawmaker's campaign committee.
According to The Daily Beast, the audit contains "a litany of serious financial reporting errors, as well as millions of dollars in allegedly improper loans Braun used to finance his 2018 bid—including $1.5 million routed from the candidate's former company."
Per The Beast:
"The auditors found that Braun's reports show more than $8.5 million in 'apparent prohibited loans" to his 2018 campaign. That includes $7 million in direct loans and lines of credit—with no collateral—'that did not appear to be made in the ordinary course of business.' The FEC also 'identified two checks from one corporation totaling $1,500,000 that were reported as loans.'"
In response to the allegations, Braun's campaign claimed the former treasurer had "vanished." On October 4, Braun's campaign released a statement addressing the circumstances surrounding the mystery former campaign member. The campaign claimed, he "was, at least ostensibly, an experienced FEC compliance professional who had worked for many federal candidate committees over many years."
However, the campaign added, "at some point during the 2018 election cycle this individual began making mistakes and failing to perform his services as warranted (and for which he was being paid). He ultimately vanished, and he has not been able to be located since the end of 2018."
Although Braun's campaign insists the former treasurer overseeing the finances "vanished," The Beast managed to locate the man in a very short period of time. His name: Travis Kabrick. The Beast has reported record of Kabrick's "current job in a phone call with his employer, as well as his location, contact information, and three social media accounts."
The audit of Braun's campaign raises concerns for many campaign finance experts. Paul S. Ryan, the vice president of policy and litigation at the campaign watchdog organization, Common Cause, described the allegations against Braun as "massive violations." In fact, one of the allegations goes against a law that has been in place for more than a century.
"Federal law prohibits candidates from receiving contributions from corporations. This law has been on the books for more than a century for the purpose of preventing politicians from being in the pocket of big corporations," Ryan told The Daily Beast. The audit, he said, "shows his campaign likely committed massive violations of federal law through receipt of more than $8.5 million in corporate contributions."
The campaign continues to deny any allegations of wrongdoing.