FEC seeks payroll information from 12th District candidate Wright McLeod

Saturday, June 30, 2012 2:37 PM
Last updated 9:03 PM
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The Federal Election Comm­is­sion wants 12th Con­gressional District hopeful Wright McLeod to fill gaps in a recent campaign finance report.

Failure to do so by July 23, an FEC letter told the Republican, may result in an audit or enforcement action.

The letter stems from a normal staff review of McLeod’s report, not a recent complaint by Republican rival Rick Allen, said FEC spokeswoman Judith Ingram. Commission letters about pending complaints are confidential, Ingram said.

However, the letter does support a key contention in the complaint – that McLeod’s report didn’t say who received $51,159 described merely as “payroll.”

By law, the letter notes, congressional campaigns must name and provide other information about people paid more than $200 in a calendar year.

McLeod, an Augusta lawyer, said recently that “we only listed it as payroll, which is what we were told the law requires.”

After the complaint surfaced, he gave news media the names of payees and said he’d amend his report if the FEC told him to.

Asked whether McLeod would do so now, campaign spokeswoman Holly Croft didn’t respond.

But she said the FEC letter “is not the hatchet job under the guise of a meritless ethics complaint that our opponent has leveled against us.”

She called the letter “a routine administrative request for more information that numerous campaigns also received,” including Allen and state Rep. Lee Anderson of Grovetown, another GOP candidate in the 12th District.

Scott Paradise, Allen’s campaign manager, said the FEC “has confirmed what we’ve believed for some time – Wright McLeod is in clear violation of the law.

“Instead of continuing to try to cover up these violations, it’s time that Wright McLeod finally tell the truth by admitting that he made major mistakes, including stealing our campaign’s donor list.”

Allen’s complaint also said McLeod’s campaign illegally took names and addresses from Allen’s finance reports and used them for fundraising letters, an allegation McLeod denies.

He also denies a claim he underreported the fair rental value of office space four people donated to the campaign. As a result, Allen says, each exceeded the $2,500 contribution limit for the primary.

The FEC letter to McLeod also covers another issue in the complaint – that McLeod’s report inadequately described outlays for office supplies and other items. It also sought more information on matters not discussed in the complaint.

The letters to Allen’s and Anderson’s campaigns asked for more information about an undisclosed number of contributors. It called for amended reports or evidence that the campaigns had met FEC requirements for trying to get the requested information. Both opted for the latter.

“There is no comparison of the one minor request made to us by the FEC and the four very serious, major requests made to Wright McLeod’s campaign,” said Reagan Williams, Anderson’s campaign manager.

The FEC often takes 10 months to resolve complaints, so it likely won’t act on Allen’s before the July 31 primary.

Comments (16) Add comment
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southern2
5953
Points
southern2 06/30/12 - 02:58 pm
4
3
Had a great 12th District

Had a great 12th District Republican debate this morning in Columbia County. Standing room only. These folks crave new leadership in DC. Mcleod was clearly the crowd favorite. No wonder his opponents are showing signs of desperation. I personally would be proud to have any of the four as my rep. Too bad we can't trade these four with four presently serving.

Insider Information
4009
Points
Insider Information 06/30/12 - 03:27 pm
5
3
Wright's wrong.

Wright's wrong.

msgret92
121
Points
msgret92 06/30/12 - 05:48 pm
6
2
Crowd favorite?

Those applauding appeared to be staged and were clearly not the majority there.

RetiredArmyToo
38
Points
RetiredArmyToo 06/30/12 - 05:47 pm
5
2
Yellow journalism?

There is nothing new in the Peterson article from a few days ago. The only thing that has changed is Peterson’s title. It reads basically the same as Susan’s article from a few days ago. My guess is McLeod did such a great job at the debate in Columbia County on 30 June that Mr Morris felt the need to muddy the waters some more.

Cynical old woman
1098
Points
Cynical old woman 06/30/12 - 07:21 pm
6
4
Rick Allen

Is a successful businessman and we need to start running our county, state, and federal governments with more of a "business mindset" than an entitlement mindset.

ddrew
7
Points
ddrew 06/30/12 - 09:54 pm
5
2
Journalism ethics

It seems the chronicle wants to keep McLeod in the hot seat. Every candidate was sent a letter regarding campaign funds. That part has been buried. Hopefully people will see through the chronicles attempts to mislabel McLeod.

glfr8
120
Points
glfr8 06/30/12 - 11:26 pm
4
4
Family favorite

Wright had his mother and wife clapping after every answer and friends spread out clapping to give the appearance he was the favorite. If that is what you call a crowd favorite, then by all means he was.

KSL
125951
Points
KSL 06/30/12 - 11:57 pm
6
0
How is this in the most

How is this in the most discussed column with 7 comments? If you are going to claim most discussed and you have some automatic system, you should at least clarify when the system switches over to the next day. Like, most discussed since 11:00 PM or whatever time you switch over.

KSL
125951
Points
KSL 07/01/12 - 12:03 am
2
0
Or at least have a

Or at least have a Yesterday's Most Discussed section.

southern2
5953
Points
southern2 07/01/12 - 06:35 am
3
2
"Crowd favorite" as in the

"Crowd favorite" as in the abundant number wearing a McLeod sticker on their shirt and pegging the applause meter. Not a supporter myself, just what I observed. Sorry.

Riverman1
82074
Points
Riverman1 07/01/12 - 07:01 am
4
0
An Observation

I attended the debate 4 years ago between Paul Broun and Barry Fleming in the same place. The Broun crowd was more numerous and vocal. He won bigtime.

Riverman1
82074
Points
Riverman1 07/01/12 - 07:14 am
4
1
Wright McLeod gets as much

Wright McLeod gets as much respect from the Chronicle as Teacher, Ashley Tyson, got at Tobacco Rd. Elementary School.

12thUnderProtest
87
Points
12thUnderProtest 07/01/12 - 11:43 am
2
3
Glfr8

I was standing in the back with other Lee Anderson supporters. I didn't think the applause for any of the camps were "staged". I think each candidate had moments where their statements really resonated with the people in the audience. I for one found myself applauding things all four candidates said.

Lee had a solid day, and I was happy to see all the folks in attendance who were wearing the gold and yellow. His plain talk resonates with the voters, and I loved the bit where he handed out his cell phone number on stage.

glfr8
120
Points
glfr8 07/01/12 - 07:05 pm
3
0
McLeod's family

was sitting up front in the first few rows. If you were sitting in the middle of the room it was obvious.

Little Lamb
45206
Points
Little Lamb 07/02/12 - 04:32 pm
2
1
Fishy, or sloppy? You decide

From the article:

By law, the letter notes, congressional campaigns must name and provide other information about people paid more than $200 in a calendar year. McLeod, an Augusta lawyer, said recently that “we only listed it as payroll, which is what we were told the law requires.”

Come on, McLeod says he is a lawyer. How can he hide behind this “what we were told” fig leaf? First off, what is this we nonsense — who is "we"? Second off, who are the people who allegedly told him incorrectly? Did he get his information from the desk clerk at the public library?

McLeod does not stand up and take responsibility for his mistakes. He tries to deflect to some anonymous advice giver, and then play the victim. That's not the kind of person you want for your congressman.

RetiredArmyToo
38
Points
RetiredArmyToo 07/03/12 - 04:31 am
2
1
Arrogant or morally corrupt? You decide

Allen and Anderson were both asked to clarify information with the FEC. The FEC Complaint was a political trick by Allen to grab headlines while vilifying McLeod by implying there were ethic violations. The fact that Allen said he paid for a top notch compliance person and was still asked to fix his disclosure seems to be lost on you. Sounds like the pentagon’s $640 toilet seats, $7600 coffee makers and $436 hammers to me; it’s rational like yours and Allen’s that helped break our economy in the first place. Maybe McLeod’s compliance person is the desk clerk at the public library who volunteers with the Campaign, what an elitist and arrogant statement on your part. Where did Allen hide the 1.3 million dollar kitchen?

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