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Indiana Democrats file federal election complaint against Braun

August 22, 2018

The Indiana Democratic Party has filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission that accuses Republican U.S. Senate candidate Mike Braun of violating campaign finance laws.

According to the complaint filed Wednesday, Braun loaned his campaign $250,000 on April 23, but failed to file a 48-hour notice with the FEC.

Federal candidates are required to report any contribution of $1,000 or more when it is received less than 20 days but more than 48 hours before the election. That requirement applies to contributions from the candidate, joint fundraisers the candidate is involved in and loans from the candidate, non-bank sources or banks. The primary election was May 8.

“By apparently failing to file timely disclosure of this last-minute infusion of Mr. Braun’s personal resources to his Senate campaign, Respondents have undermined the Act’s transparency requirements and concealed important information from Indiana voters ahead of the Senate primary,” the complaint states.

 

Braun spokesman Josh Kelley said the rules were followed properly and the campaign has paperwork to prove it.

"This loan was granted on April 23 and timestamped paperwork proves notification was provided on April 25 to the FEC and to the Secretary of Senate," he said in an email to IBJ. "Donnelly and his Democrat party bosses are just trying to distract Hoosiers from the ethical mistake of using his taxpayer funded staff to provide video to create political commercials surrounding the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh–who Donnelly will ultimately support once he receives approval from the liberal-wing of his party.”

Indiana Democratic Party Chairman John Zody accused Braun of intentionally hiding the loan before the primary and called it “no rookie mistake.”

“It’s simply that he doesn’t believe legal or moral rules apply to him so long as he benefits,” Zody said in a written statement.

The complaint filing with the FEC comes just two days after the Indiana Republican Party filed an ethics complaint against Democratic U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly. Republicans have accused Donnelly of using taxpayer-funded resources for campaign purposes because Donnelly’s federal office posted a short b-roll video of his meeting with U.S. Supreme Court justice nominee Brett Kavanaugh to YouTube.

Republicans argue that Donnelly posted the video so his campaign or other outside groups could use the footage in future advertisements.

Donnelly’s campaign spokesman called the complaint a “political stunt.”

Violations of the Federal Election Campaign Act are typically settled through fines, according to the FEC, although knowing and willful violations of certain laws can lead to imprisonment.

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