Ta Federal Election Commission fined Jeff Sessions’ senatorial campaign $ 15,000 for failing to properly disclose a candidate’s last minute loan of $ 150,000.
Campaigns should notify the FEC within 48 hours in respect of contributions or loans they receive greater than $ 1,000 during the 20-day period preceding polling day.
On June 30, 2020, two weeks before a second round of the Republican primaries against Tommy Tuberville, Sessions loaned $ 150,000 to his campaign. But the campaign didn’t reveal the loan until July, after Sessions lost the second round to Sen. Tommy Tuberville, a former football coach who went on to defeat Democrat Doug Jones in the general election.
“[Sessions] gained the strategic advantage of fooling his opponent into believing his campaign had less money to spend than it actually had in the closing days of the campaign, ”said Brett Kappel, lawyer specializing in campaign finance at Harmon, Curran, Spielberg & Eisenberg. “This is exactly the type of gambling that the 48 hour reporting requirement was meant to prevent.”
On December 28, Sessions, who served as Trump’s attorney general but ultimately fell out of favor with the president, forgave the balance of $ 124,000 of the loan.
The campaign, which learned of the fine in February, paid the $ 15,000 penalty in May. As of March 31, however, he had no money in hand, so we do not yet know where the $ 15,000 came from. Campaign treasurer Anita Barrera declined to comment.
“Candidates who do not disclose personal loans to their campaign committees in the final days before an election have been a recurring problem,” Kappel said, adding that the problem could worsen thanks to a new court ruling that allows campaigns to repay applicants’ larger loans.