Today, Common Cause filed complaints with the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Federal Election Commission (FEC) alleging reason to believe that solicitations for campaign contributions to former Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach’s Senate campaign distributed by We Build the Wall, Inc. violated multiple campaign finance laws. The email solicitation appears to violate the ban on corporate contributions to a federal candidate and the prohibition on candidates spending “soft money” in connection with their election. The email also lacks the “paid for by” disclaimer required by federal law when candidates solicit political contributions.
The Daily Beast reported last night that, earlier in the day, We Build the Wall, Inc., a the 501(c)(4) nonprofit corporation attempting to build a wall on the United States-Mexico border, sent a fundraising solicitation to its email distribution list, written as a personal appeal from Kobach for contributions to his Senate campaign and linking to the campaign website. Kobach serves as general counsel to the organization and sits on its advisory board.
“One way or the other Kris Kobach appears to have violated federal campaign finance laws through this solicitation for contributions to his U.S. Senate campaign,” said Paul S. Ryan, Common Cause vice president for policy and litigation. “This looks like an illegal in-kind corporate contribution from We Build the Wall, Inc. to the Kobach campaign. But even if the Kobach campaign paid fair market value for distribution of this fundraising email, it neglected to include the ‘paid for by’ disclaimer required by law.”
To read the DOJ complaint, click here.
To read the FEC complaint, click here.