For those who do not know what Politicker is I wish to give some brief context before we move on. From Wikipedia:
The Politicker Network, or Politicker.com was a national network of fifty state-based political websites operated by The New York ObserverFrom Politicker:
A Politicker examination of federal campaign finance disclosure reports submitted by Paul Ryan’s congressional campaign has uncovered indications Mr. Ryan may have improperly used funds raised for his re-election effort in Wisconsin for presidential campaign activities at the Republican National Convention in August. Mr. Ryan is simultaneously running for re-election in Wisconsin’s First Congressional District and on the GOP presidential ticket with Mitt Romney. At the RNC in Tampa, Mr. Ryan’s House campaign spent over $75,000. However, these convention expenses seem to go far beyond the scope of the activities and staff he had at the RNC for his bid to reclaim his House seat.When caught the Ryan campaign had to resort to lying and sketchy stories to cover up the potential FEC violation:
One prominent election law expert told us this is a “highly problematic” potential violation of Federal Election Commission regulations regarding candidates running for multiple federal offices. A spokesperson for Mr. Ryan’s opponent in Wisconsin’s First Congressional District described it as a possibly “troubling” element of “Paul Ryan’s overarching pattern of dishonesty in this race.”
When we reached out to Mr. Ryan’s congressional campaign manager, we received a shifting series of explanations including at least one statement that was clearly untrue.What exactly is the potential FEC violation? To understand that, we must understand how the FEC operates first:
The FEC has issued advisory opinions explaining what expenses are allowed for candidates attending their parties’ conventions. In one of these, the commission notes that convention expenses cannot include “any use of funds in a campaign account of a present or former candidate to fulfill a commitment, obligation or expense of any person that would exist irrespective of the candidate’s campaign or duties as a Federal officeholder.” In the same advisory opinion, the commission said “regulations covering delegate activity indicate that such costs would be for the purpose of influencing a Federal election and, hence, not a personal use.”In case you do not understand what this means, this paragraph has been decoded in layman terms:
In other words, in Mr. Ryan’s case, this means he would be permitted to use his campaign account only to fund expenses related to him and his campaign staff attending and holding events explicitly associated with his re-election effort, not for general convention expenses which would be considered part of the effort to boost his campaign with Mr. Romney.
Yet upon closer examination, we find that Ryan spent his money on general convention expenses which were part of the Romney campaign base:
Mr. Ryan’s convention spending does not seem to be related to these events. Mr. Ryan’s largest RNC expense was a $34,854.35 payment for “hotel rooms” at the Marriott Tampa Waterside, which was the Romney campaign’s base at the convention. Mr. Ryan’s congressional campaign also paid $4,183.20 for “hotel rooms” for the convention at a Hyatt hotel.You would think the Romney campaign would offer an explanation, but all we have (for now anyway) is silence:
We contacted the Romney campaign this evening to see if they had any comment on this story. As of this writing, we have yet to receive a response.Is silence an admission of guilt? Stay tuned folks.