WASHINGTON – Senator Mike Braun’s campaign is accused of having about $ 8.5 million in banned loans, according to a Federal Election Commission audit project.
The charges include approximately $ 1.5 million in corporate contributions from the Braun-set up company, Meyer Distributing. Corporate contributions are illegal.
Joshua Kelley, chief of staff and spokesperson for the senator, sent this statement to our information-gathering partner WTHR on Thursday afternoon:
“The draft audit report released by FEC audit staff almost two months ago was just that: a draft released to the campaign committee provided the necessary documentation to clarify the loan issues. raised in the report. However, if you have read the documents that the campaign committee has since provided to the FEC or listened to the recent hearing with the FEC commissioners, it is clear that the final version of the FEC audit report will conclude that all loans were fully in accordance with the law. Sometimes these FEC audits take time to get by; it has been here, and we’re not in the least concerned about how the process will end. “
The amount was originally marked as “compensation” to Braun, then marked as redeemed shares, and finally as loans.
A Braun campaign lawyer argued that the $ 1.5 million in loans were “… personal funds owed by Meyer distributing to the candidate, and the candidate paid taxes on the amount as income for him. “. Tax documents have been provided to try to support this claim.
However, the draft final audit report for the FEC found that the $ 1.5 million was from a “prohibited source” and lacked “records such as a share purchase agreement between the candidate and Meyer Distributing or the financial documents that the CPA reviewed to determine the sale of shares. ” The draft final audit report also claimed that Mike Braun for Indiana’s response indicated that $ 1.5 million was compensation for Braun’s services to the company, but the chartered accountant de Braun said the funds were intended for the sale of shares.
The FEC also reports other irregular loans, including five loans and 11 lines of credit from financial institutions, for a total of $ 7,049,405.
Campaign lawyer Braun argued that commercial lending institutions provide unsecured lines of credit to “creditworthy” people who are unlikely to default on the loan.
Braun’s attorney argued that the loan agreement was signed by “a high net worth and creditworthy individual who, in the bank’s own judgment, was very unlikely to default on the loan.” He claimed that this was all part of the normal course of business for credit institutions and was therefore legal.
However, the draft final audit report found that was not the case, citing that there was no guarantee offered for the lines of credit in the countryside Mike Braun for Indiana did. not provided the fully signed copy of a loan agreement, certificates of credit institution or any other document from its financial institutions demonstrating that Mike Braun’s loans for Indiana were not unduly favorable to the applicant.
In conclusion, the audit staff noted that, “in the absence of documentation demonstrating that the loans and lines of credit totaling $ 7,049,405 were made on a repayment guarantee basis, they were not made in the normal course of business. The CPA’s conclusion regarding the sale of shares, audit staff maintain that the $ 1,500,000 appears to have come from a prohibited source. “
Importantly, this is an audit project and the Braun campaign said it is still working to track down former treasurer Travis Kabrick to provide documentation and clarification.