Evan McMullin Potentially In Violation Of Campaign Finance Laws, Records Show
Former presidential candidate Evan McMullin’s failed campaign ended its quixotic journey six-figures in debt as of summer 2017, and records show it has missed every deadline to file the required financial statements since then, according to a review by The Daily Caller News Foundation.
The Federal Election Commission (FEC) sent numerous letters to the McMullin For President Committee over the last year warning that the organization risks fines for failing to file and for making errors on financial statements it did manage to submit.
McMullin’s committee was nearly $645,000 in debt just after the 2016 presidential election, according to a financial statement the group filed to the FEC in December 2016. By July 2017, it increased to nearly $670,000, that month’s filing shows.
That was the last financial statement McMullin’s committee filed. Since then, the organization has missed three deadlines, including one that passed Sunday. The FEC has consequently sent the group warnings that it could face penalties if it doesn’t provide the necessary information.
“It has come to the attention of the Federal Election Commission that you may have failed to file the above referenced report of receipts and disbursements or failed to file a report covering the entire reporting period as required by the Federal Election Campaign Act,” reads a February letter from the FEC.
“The failure to timely file this report may result in civil money penalties, suspension of matching funds payments, an audit or legal enforcement action,” the letter continues. “The civil money penalty calculation for late reports does not include a grace period and begins on the day following the due date for the report.”
A source close to the campaign told The Daily Caller News Foundation that following President Donald Trump’s victory in November 2016, McMullin was concerned about how he would manage to pay back lenders.
McMullin’s committee received four previous letters from the FEC either pointing out errors in the group’s filings or questioning why it submitted amended versions of its financial statements with increased debt.
“Your amended report discloses an increase in debts owed to one or more vendor(s) totaling $339,389.57 … from those disclosed on your original report,” read a March 2017 letter from the FEC regarding McMullin’s committee’s September 2016 financial statement.
“Please provide any additional clarifying information as to why this activity was not disclosed on your original report,” the letter continued.
McMullin’s committee responded to the FEC in April 2017.
The committee was “immediately confronted with the difficulties of acquiring vendors, recruiting volunteers, raising money, obtaining ballot access, and organizing for the election which was a mere 85 days away” after it was formed, the group’s treasurer, Jeffrey Carson, wrote in a letter to the FEC. “Given these circumstances, there was a lack of organization in the initial committee structural and vendor acquisition phase.”
“Unfortunately, this led to outstanding vendor invoices being unreported as debts owed by the committee,” Carson continued. “Once the committee was structurally sound, the committee’s outstanding invoices were discovered” and it “amended its past FEC reports.”
“The committee has since taken measures to adopt and implement organizational best practices which should prevent errors like this from occurring in the future,” he concludes. However, the committee only filed one additional financial statement following the treasurer’s letter.
In August 2014, the FEC fined Jesse Jackson Jr. $18,000 for not filing financial statements while he was in jail for spending campaign money on various items such as a Rolex watch and an Eddie Van Halen guitar.
“We cannot comment on specific committees or sets of circumstances,” FEC spokeswoman Judith Ingram told TheDCNF.
Since the 2016 election, where he placed fifth behind Libertarian Gary Johnson and the Green Party’s Jill Stein with a mere 700,000 votes, McMullin has been a regular guest on cable news networks like CNN and MSNBC.
His combination of ostensibly conservative beliefs, history working in government intelligence and unrelenting criticism for the president have made him ideal as a talking head.
An article from one year ago in The Salt Lake Tribune reported on McMullin potentially running for an open Utah Senate or House seat in the upcoming midterm elections.
One of the primary issues McMullin would face, The Tribune reported, is his overwhelming debt.
“From what I know, they do not have any capability or plans to pay all the vendors they still owe money,” said Tanner Leatham, a CEO of a Utah-based political consulting group that offered services to McMullin’s campaign and as of April 2017 was still owed more than $10,000. “They have told me they cannot pay us what they owe.”
McMullin has implied on multiple occasions that Trump could be involved in various criminal activity. He responded on April 10 to the president’s tweet that “Attorney-client privilege is dead!” with “Your attorney has no privilege to commit crimes for you or himself.”
In December 2017, McMullin tweeted that House Republicans “are attempting to weaken U.S. law enforcement so that it can’t hold the Trump administration accountable for potential crimes.”
CNN and MSNBC did not return a request for comment about whether McMullin’s potential legal issues would interfere with his ability to be a guest. McMullin did not respond to a request either.
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