INDIANAPOLIS – The last week has been brutal for Rep. Braun, as newspapers in Indiana and across the country have called out his shady fundraising tactics and repeated lies to Hoosiers about not self-funding his campaign after the primary.
As the Indy Star first reported last Sunday, Rep. Braun had said repeatedly that he would not self-fund his campaign in the general election, but he then gave himself more than $350K since becoming the GOP nominee in May. His week got even worse when the Indianapolis Business Journal reported that he used several personal loans to skirt campaign contribution laws in a scheme similar to one described as a “legal form of money laundering.” The criticism continued yesterday on Indiana’s Sunday news shows, as new footage on IN Focus showed yet another instance of Rep. Braun lying about not self-funding.
From the Indy Star: Braun raised less than Donnelly when not counting personal loans
Republican Senate candidate Mike Braun has not raised as much money from campaign supporters as he recently implied, taking in less money than Democratic Sen. Joe Donnelly during the last three months when personal loans are subtracted from his total.
Braun announced mid-July a “blockbuster fundraising haul for the 2nd quarter of the year: posting $2.5 million raised with over $1 million cash on hand at quarter close, including nearly $1.5 million raised since the day after the primary, without personal contributions or loans.”
But the disclosure report Braun has since filed with the Senate shows nearly $1 million of his $2.5 million was in personal loans. Of that, about $350,000 was loaned after the primary.
He’s repaid himself nearly $100,000 in four payments since the primary, while almost immediately loaning his campaign equal amounts.
From the Journal Gazette: Donnelly outpacing opponent in funding
Braun answered a question about self-funding on Monday at an Indianapolis agriculture policy forum sponsored by Indiana corn and soybean associations.
“Well, news is, you come from the outside, nobody’s going to write you a check,” he said in a recording of the forum. “And that independence of having my own money in there, my own skin in the game, was liberating in the sense that I could take on a lot of sacred cows.”
Braun said at the forum that his second-quarter contributions consisted of “little” of his own money. But his finance report shows he lent his campaign $984,000 in the quarter, which was 39 percent of his overall receipts.
From the Indianapolis Business Journal: Braun appears to use finance gimmick to free up more money for campaign
Republican U.S. Senate candidate Mike Braun continues to pump his own money into his campaign, and appears to be engaging in the controversial but legal practice of using donations for retiring debt from his primary race to boost his general election campaign.
Braun reported paying a total of about $93,000 in donor contributions intended for his primary debt in four payments made between May 29 and June 25, and then within several days he personally issued his campaign new loans for the same amounts.
The move is similar to what Matt Rosendale, the Republican U.S. Senate candidate in Montana, recently did.
Brendan Fischer, an attorney with the nonpartisan Campaign Legal Center, told the AP that Rosendale’s actions were “a legal form of money laundering in order to help a handful of wealthy donors get around federal contribution limits.”
From Roll Call: Senate Candidates Mislead When Announcing Fundraising Numbers
But as the Star reports, Braun only raised about $1.5 million from contributors, according to his official FEC report, which is not yet available on the website. He loaned himself nearly $1 million of the $2.5 million his campaign said he had raised.
The campaign told the Star that the clause “without personal contributions or loans” in its original statement only referred to the money he raised since the primary.
But the newspaper reported that Braun’s filing still showed him loaning his campaign $350,000 since the primary. He had reportedly said he wasn’t going to self-fund his general election campaign.
From WBND ABC-57: Did Braun out-fundraise Donnelly?
According to the FEC, Braun loaned his campaign over $984,345.00 this quarter.
But that amount also includes the month of April.
All loans made after May 8th came to $349,345.
So both his pledge to not self-fund his general election bid, and the aforementioned line from the press release are false.
Days after that initial press release went out, Braun tweeted an image that bragged he “handily outraised” his opponent this time around.
The tally was $2.5 million to $1.9 million.
If Braun had not put nearly a million of his own money into his campaign this quarter, that statement would also be false.
From IN Focus: