Democratic Challenger Who Accused Pence Of Racism On MSNBC Wasn’t Even A Candidate, FEC Records Show

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  • Indiana Democrat Jeannine Lee Lake appeared on MSNBC in August promoting her congressional campaign site and asking viewers to make a donation, despite the campaign not being registered with the FEC at the time of that broadcast.
  • The FEC previously sent Lake and her campaign committee indicating that she had not properly filed multiple reports.
  • Lake refused to comment on her campaign’s FEC filings, but gave the DCNF a statement on her opponent, incumbent Republican Rep. Greg Pence.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This post has been updated to provide the correct links to an FEC letter and to a video clip. It has also been updated to clarify the precise timing and substance of Lake’s FEC filings.

The Democratic congressional nominee running for Republican Indiana Rep. Greg Pence’s seat solicited donations on MSNBC and solicited donations to her campaign, but had not registered as a candidate with the Federal Elections Commission until hours after publication of a Daily Caller News Foundation’s article about her campaign, documents show.

Jeannine Lee Lake, who is running for Congress in Indiana’s 6th Congressional District, has criticized the Pences as racist, homophobic and transphobic, but she appears to not have been a candidate eligible to receive funds, according to FEC records at the time the story was originally published.

Lake has not filed a statement of candidacy with the FEC for the 2020 election, records show. The FEC sent a letter to Lake during her failed 2018 run for the seat, and again on Aug. 6 for the November 2020 election notifying her that she has 35 days to either disavow the fundraising activities or to file a statement of candidacy with the FEC.

The FEC also sent Lake For Congress notices in April and July notifying her that she had “failed to file” her quarterly fundraising reports. Lake told the Daily Caller News Foundation that she was unaware of any FEC notices sent to her.

The FEC cannot grant extensions for missed filing deadlines and recommends committees file a report as soon as they realize that they missed a deadline, according to the FEC website. Congressional candidates are required to register with the FEC within 15 days of becoming a candidate, and candidates, including incumbents, are required to file a new candidacy statement for each election cycle, according to the website.

“Sadly, Greg Pence just trying to obfuscate from his own personal financial failings in Indiana and from all the recent media detailing how he and his family profit off of hate … specifically, the sale of his racist, sexist, transphobic and anti-Semitic items at both his antique malls,” Lake told the DCNF in a text message Thursday evening. “The $20 million in environmental devastations he left in Columbus after he bankrupted Keil Brothers is tragic.”

The FEC also sent Lake For Congress a notice to report her year-end numbers for 2019 in February, though she did not file her report until July, records show.

Lake repeatedly avoided answering questions about failing to file for candidacy and the notices from the FEC.

“I gave my response and I would appreciate if you would print that as my response. That’s my response. I actually screenshotted that, so you would know and everybody could see that that’s what I asked you to print as my response,” Lake told the DCNF.

MSNBC hosted a panel of five black women reportedly running for congress, including Lake, on Aug. 2. (RELATED: Ocasio-Cortez Denies Violating Campaign Finance Laws After FEC Complaint)


Lake is the Editor and Publisher of The Good News, formerly known as The Muncie Times, according to her campaign website.

Lake filed a statement of candidacy in August 2018 as part of an unsuccessful run for the House of Representatives in the 2018 midterms, according to FEC records.

“Print whatever you want to print, I’ve read a little bit about your publication, so I have an idea of what it’s going to be. I don’t care what you print,” Lake told the DCNF Friday morning. “I know the Pence’s are upset with me because I’ve written about and made sure everybody knows they’re racist and sexist and homophobic and transphobic and anti-Semitic, and that they’re basically none of what they said they were in public. They’re a bunch of fake, phony, hypocritical quote-unquote Christians and Catholics.”

“That’s literally my response, I don’t know what else to say. It’s not going to change if you keep calling me, that is exactly how I want to respond to that question,” Lake told the DCNF.

Lake said on MSNBC that her campaign has yet to raise $100,000. Lake hopes to receive more donations along with help from Democratic former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, she said on MSNBC. A donation button on Lake’s website links to a landing page for donations through fundraising platform ActBlue.

Lake’s campaign was not mentioned in a list of candidates to which Buttigieg’s political action committee will be donating, the Indianapolis Monthly reported.


Lake again refused to address questions regarding her FEC filings or notices when the DCNF contacted her Friday morning and suggested the reporter find new employment.

“Thank you, dear, you have a nice day. I will pray you find a better job though, you sound like a nice girl, you don’t belong there, I can already tell,” Lake told the DCNF. “You don’t belong there, you get a better job. Gannett has some really good jobs for people, I worked for them for a really long time. You apply for a good job at Gannett ’cause you got a better heart than those people.”

Lake won the Indiana 6th Congressional District’s Democratic primary with 70.3% of the vote June 2, the New York Times reported. Lake will face Republican incumbent Greg Pence in the general election on Tuesday, Nov. 3.

ActBlue and the Democratic Party of Indiana did not respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.

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