If you pay attention to how much money candidates are raising – and more importantly in many ways, from which individuals, corporate interests, etc. – you look forward to the quarterly campaign finance filing deadlines with the Federal Elections Commission. One of those deadlines just passed, on April 15, and overwhelmingly, Virginia’s federal (U.S. House and U.S. Senate) candidates managed to get their reports in on time, or at least very close to on time (I’ve been posting the numbers here as I see them).
That is, all the federal candidates managed to do that…with four glaring exceptions: 1) Democrat Charlotte Moore in VA-06, who shows absolutely no 1Q18 (or any other) campaign finance information on the FEC website; 2) Republican candidate for U.S. Senate Nick Freitas; 3) Republican candidate for U.S. Senate Corey Stewart and 4) Republican candidate for U.S. Senate E.W. Jackson, Sr.
What on earth is going on here?
According to the FEC website:
Under the Commission’s mandatory electronic filing regulations, individuals and organizations required to file with the FEC that receive contributions or make expenditures, including independent expenditures, aggregating in excess of $50,000 in a calendar year — or have reason to expect to do so — must file all reports and statements electronically.
Reports filed electronically must be received and validated by the Commission by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on the filing date. Electronic filers who file on paper or submit an electronic report that does not pass the Commission’s validation program by that time on the filing deadline will be considered nonfilers and may be subject to enforcement actions, including administrative fines.
So that seems clear, right? You have to file by the deadline – in this case April 15 – or you can be subject to “enforcement actions.” Except that it gets a bit complicated when it comes to U.S. Senate candidates:
Senate campaigns and other committees supporting Senate candidates must file their FEC reports with the Secretary of the Senate on paper, but may file an additional unofficial electronic copy of their report with the Commission in order to enhance disclosure.
Wait, really? The FEC actually says that U.S. Senate candidates HAVE TO file on PAPER, with only an OPTION to file electronically as well? What, are we back in the 1950s (where Republicans would like to take the country) or something? But yes, believe it or not, this is actually the case in the year 2018, despite what I’m told have been multiple efforts to change that idiotic rule – none of which have passed. F’ed up, I know. But still, note that there’s absolutely nothing preventing U.S. Senate candidates from also filing electronically. So why wouldn’t they do that in addition to filing on paper? Hmmmm…
Which brings us to the Republican U.S. Senate campaigns of Nick Freitas, Corey Stewart and EW Jackson, none of whom currently show any information for 1Q18 on the FEC website. But before we get to them, though, note that Sen. Tim Kaine’s information was filed on time, as it should have been, and includes detailed, itemized receipt and disbursement information, again as it should! Why this matters is simple: so that the voters can see who the candidates for federal office are receiving their money from and what they are spending that money on. It’s called “transparency,” aka “giving voters the information they need to make informed decisions.”
And clearly. Sen. Tim Kaine takes all that seriously, as of course he should. Meanwhile, in stark-but-oh-so-revealing contrast, Republicans Nick Freitas, Corey Stewart and EW Jackson apparently don’t give a rat’s hindquarters if Virginia GOP primary voters are informed, at least not in a timely fashion, regarding where they’re getting their money and what they’re spending it on. Why is that? Do they have things they’d rather Virginia GOP voters not see, at least not in a timely fashion? Are they simply embarrassed at how badly they’re getting blown out of the water by Sen. Tim Kaine? Both?
By the way, even if Nick, Corey and EW filed by paper only, and even if the FEC still hasn’t posted that information, there is absolutely nothing stopping Nick, Corey and EW from putting our press releases with detailed information on their 1Q18 campaign fundraising and expenditures. Yet so far, all we have is a press release from Nick Freitas’ campaign reporting “$343,712 raised and more than $250,000 cash-on-hand,” with “5,373 individual donors, giving an average of $63.97.” Again, no details regarding who those donors might be, or where his money’s going. Still, it’s better than Corey Stewart and EW Jackson, neither of whom has released any information whatsoever about their 1Q18 campaign finances, now four days after the April 15 filing deadline.
In sum, it appears that none of the three Virginia Republican U.S. Senate candidates – Nick Freitas, Corey Stewart and EW Jackson – care very much whether or not GOP primary voters have the information they need to make informed choices regarding who to support. In stark contrast, Sen. Tim Kaine actually respects voters (what a concept!), as well as the law, and has done exactly what he should have done. I guess it’s not surprising that the contrast between Kaine and his far-right/extreme opponents is so stark – on this and on everything else. Something to keep in mind as we move into the general election between Kaine and one of these clowns…
P.S. As for Charlotte Moore in VA-06, who the hell knows what’s going on there? Very strange.