Candidate Email Violated Federal Election Law: Complaint

Kansas Senatorial candidate Kris Kobach violated federal election law with an Aug. 1 fund-raising email sent to the We Build The Wall Inc. email list, according to a complaint filed with the Federal Election Commission by Common Cause.

Kobach, a Republican, is the former Secretary of State of Kansas.

The complaint alleges that Kobach, the Kobach for Senate campaign and We Build The Wall violated 52 U.S.C. 30118, prohibiting corporate contributions to federal candidates and 52 U.S.C. 30125 (3), barring spending of “soft money” in elections..

We Build The Wall is a Florida-based advocacy group that seeks to fund a wall on the southern border of the United States. The group, which has tax-exempt status, has raised $25 million 

According to the complaint, Kobach is on the group’s advisory board and is also its general counsel. It adds that the group is an “agent” of Kobach.

The complaint asks that the FEC, which has jurisdiction over civil enforcement of campaign law, conduct an investigation, impose sanctions and enjoin the campaign from further violations.

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Common Cause also sent the complaint to Attorney General William Barr, contending that the DOJ would have purview of any criminal proceedings, as per the Campaign Reform Act of 2002.

According to the complaint, We Build The Wall made a contribution equal to “the cost of producing and disseminating the fundraising email,” and it also violates the prohibition against soft money.

Common Cause also charges that the email did not include a required “paid for by” declaimer. 

The complaint and cover letter to Barr were signed by Paul S. Ryan, Common Cause. 

Common Cause says it was alerted to the email by an Aug. 1 article in The Daily Beast. As quoted in the complaint, the fund-raising email stresses the connection between We Build The Wall and Kobach, stating: “As you may have heard, I’ve decided to run for the United States Senate in 2020. I’m working hard to earn the support I need to win and frankly, I need to get you on my team.

“As a donor to WeBuildTheWall, I humbly ask you to support my run for the Senate. 

“As a United States Senator I will fight to make sure that the federal government completes the entire wall with the speed and quality that we are implementing with WeBuildTheWall!”

 

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