The 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 are required to notify the FEC within 48 hours of any contribution or loan they receive over $ 1,000 in the 20-day period leading up to 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 final 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 report 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 $ 124,000 balance of the loan.
The campaign, which was informed of the fine in February, paid the penalty of $ 15,000 in May. As of March 31, however, he had no cash on hand, so it is not yet clear where the $ 15,000 came from. Campaign treasurer Anita Barrera declined to comment.
“Candidates who do not disclose their personal loans to their campaign committees in the last 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. .