FEC Clears Swing District Republican Of ‘Phantom Job’ Allegations

[Screenshot/YouTube/Joe Kent]

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Robert Schmad Contributor
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The Federal Election Commission (FEC) cleared Republican congressional candidate Joe Kent of allegations that he maintained a fake job to support his run for Congress in 2022, according to a letter released by the commission last month.

In October 2022, a month before the 2022 midterm elections, the Daily Beast released a report suggesting that Kent’s stated employer did not exist. David Nierenberg, a donor to Kent’s opponent, then wrote a complaint based on the Daily Beast’s reporting alleging that Kent had illegally accepted money from a false employer to finance his campaign, which was dismissed by the FEC in September.

Holding a “no-show” job to finance a run for political office violates federal campaign finance law, according to Oregon Public Broadcasting. (RELATED: Pro-Impeachment Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler Loses To Trump-Backed Primary Challenger)

“The Commission found no reason to believe that 1) Joseph Kent and Joe Kent for Congress and Thomas Datwyler in his official capacity as treasurer violated 52 U.S.C. §§ 30116(f) or 30118(a) by knowingly accepting excessive or prohibited corporate contributions through salary payments made by Kent’s employer,” the FEC’s letter reads.

Local media and Rep. Marie Gluesenkamp Perez, the woman who defeated Kent in 2022 and who he is running to unseat in 2024, amplified the now-disproven story in the weeks leading up to the 2022 midterm elections.  Perez tweeted on Oct. 26, 2022, alleging that Kent “has only a ‘phantom job.'”

Local news outlets, including KGW8, The Columbian and Oregon Public Broadcasting, among others, aggregated the Daily Beast’s reporting.

Washington’s Third District, where Kent and Perez are slated for a 2024 rematch, was decided by only 2,629 votes, according to CNN.

“Marie Perez and a willing local and national media ran with baseless lies about Joe Kent and his employer and now he has been fully vindicated,” a statement from the Kent campaign read. “We are grateful to the FEC for its investigation that concluded Joe was gainfully employed by American Enterprise Solutions.”

“Marie Perez’s blatantly false accusation that Joe, a retired 20-year Army combat veteran and CIA field operative, ‘didn’t work for a living’ is abhorrent and she and the rest of the media that spread this lie owe Joe an apology,” the Kent campaign said.

Kent and Perez have raised more than a million dollars each for their upcoming race, with Cook Political Report rating the race as a “toss up.”

The Kent and Perez campaigns did not respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s requests for comment.

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