May 07, 2012

We’re Still Waiting, Rep. Broun…

By CREW Staff

Rep. Paul Broun Official PhotoIt’s been six weeks since Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA) contradicted his own campaign filings by saying loans he had reported making to his campaign actually came from a bank rather than his personal funds.  Somehow, we’re still waiting for Rep. Broun to clear up what his spokeswoman has described as a “simple error.” 

When Rep. Broun first mentioned the bank loan, he was attempting to push back against CREW’s Family Affair report, which found he had collected $28,756 in loan interest from his campaign despite telling the Federal Election Commission (FEC) he wouldn’t charge any.  Those interest payments, he insisted, actually went to the bank.

CREW then filed a complaint against Rep. Broun's campaign with the FEC, pointing out Rep. Broun had illegally concealed the source of more than $300,000 in loans.  After the complaint was filed, Broun’s then-campaign treasurer Tim Echols said he outsourced the FEC filings and couldn’t remember where the series of six loans came from.   Later, Broun spokeswoman Meredith Griffanti claimed the confusion was all the result of “an inexperienced staffer who made a simple error when it came to providing details about the loan.”  Of course, there were multiple loans reported separately over the course of a year, and the mistake was repeated on more than 30 separate FEC filings, so the simple mistake actually seems pretty complicated.

Ms. Griffanti said the loan was a home mortgage from Athens First Bank & Trust, with interest charged at “the standard market rate at the time” – whatever that was.  This also doesn’t explain why there appear to have been several different loans.  In addition, Ms. Griffanti promised the campaign was “taking the necessary steps to file amendments and correct the whole oversight.”  It must be harder to figure out than she thought, because weeks later, we’re still waiting for those amendments.

Since CREW filed its complaint, Rep. Broun has had the time to call for the resignation of the head of the Transportation Security Administration, meet the Georgia Farm Bureau, host a “Grants and Small Business Expo,”  and even unveil the winner of a Congressional Art Competition at the local mall. Perhaps he can find some time in his busy schedule to come clean with the FEC about his campaign finances.

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