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Jim Jordan under review for nearly $ 3 million in undeclared campaign funds

This week, the campaign committee of Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), received ten notices from the Federal Election Commission reporting discrepancies in its books totaling nearly $ 3 million and going back more than two years. The campaign claims the mistakes fell through the cracks amid a record-breaking fundraising wave and that it actually has more money on the books now, but experts say the dollar amount – errors totaling some $ 2.87 million – may trigger an FEC investigation.

The errors also appear to be linked to newly developed payment systems largely hidden in the murky world of digital advertising, where vendors not only receive direct spend, but also take cuts in fundraising.

The notices, sent in batches between February 28 and March 2, come in response to more than a dozen amended reports correcting errors the campaign found during a thorough review of filings, dating back as far as 2018. One of the deposits reveals errors in expenses and levies totaling $ 1,470,286.48.

The commission gave the campaign until early April to respond, and the letters say failure to “respond adequately” could result in an audit or enforcement action.

Campaign spokesperson Kevin Eichinger provided the Daily Beast with a statement making the corrections a positive sign and throwing the blame on the campaign’s longtime treasurer, the tax law and business-based business expert. Ohio, James Kordik, who was replaced when Jordan hired Datwyler last July.

“The campaign filed an amendment with the FEC to correct its campaign fundraising reports dating back to 2018. There was never any money missing from the account,” Eichinger said. “In fact, the campaign cash balance is actually higher than previously reported in campaign fundraising reports. The error occurred when the former campaign treasurer inadvertently twice declared some fundraising expenses. When the error was discovered, the campaign hired an external expert to perform a full audit and file the appropriate changes. “

Kordik did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The campaign has indeed stepped up its fundraising in 2020. In the 2016 cycle, before Donald Trump’s election, the Jordanian campaign received just over $ 733,000 and spent around $ 423,000, according to records. of the FEC. Jordan’s congressional has long been viewed as a strong , a it has won by at least 60% for several cycles. But his profile rose over the Trump years as Jordan appeared regularly in conservative media to polish his mark as a fierce critic of the Democratic agenda, a strategy that opened the floodgates for fundraising.

Its increased for the 2018 cycle, grossing $ 1.24 million and disbursing around $ 1.8 million. But in 2020, they skyrocketed: He raised $ 18.6 million and spent $ 13.2 million, and is now on a $ 6 million reserve. Jordan has disbursed more than $ 12.4 million to fund its own operation, transferring just $ 180,000 to other committees, primarily the Ohio GOP.

Campaign finance experts say the errors are large enough that, if the conservative rising star can’t offer a valid explanation, the FEC will likely send the matter back to its enforcement arm. Such a decision would not be publicly disclosed.

“The Jordan campaign appears to have had systemic reporting problems over several years, and these amendments represent substantial changes in fundraising and disclosed campaign expenses,” said Brendan Fischer, reform director at Campaign Legal Center, at the Daily Beast. “I suspect the FEC will look closely at variances of such a large amount.”

Brett Kappel, campaign finance attorney at Harmon Curran, said the reports appear “so incorrect” that the FEC can order an audit.

“The legal standard for triggering an FEC audit is high: if deposits meet the threshold of ‘substantial compliance’ with the law,” Kappel explained. “Jordan’s FEC reports were so incorrect for such a long time that they can meet the standard.”

Jenna Grande, press secretary for Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a Washington-based nonprofit watchdog, said, “That’s a very large amount of money in spreads. While much remains to be learned about this situation, the Jordan representative’s campaign must provide a full account of what happened and why. “

The current explanation of the campaign is incomplete and somewhat contradictory. For example, it mentions spending errors, but does not explain the significant errors in the campaign’s fundraising, which the FEC says was reduced by a total of $ 1,280,852.36 – almost in half. in the July 2020 Quarterly Campaign Report, Kordik’s latest filing. Some amendments show increases in revenue and others show decreases.

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