GOP lawmaker swept up in election finance scandal after his father admits he funneled cash to campaign
First time candidate Steve Watkins is the GOP nominee in Kansas' 2nd congressional district (Fox News screengrab)

Kansas Congressman Steve Watkins has been caught in what appears to be a fake donor campaign, according to his FEC report.


Politico reported Friday that the Federal Elections Commission is investigating "straw man donations" to the 2018 campaign that was paid for by Watkins' father.

The Congressman has been facing multiple scandals for the past year, and this is merely one of the latest.

"At the heart of the FEC probe is whether Watkins’ father made illegal contributions to boost Watkin’s congressional bid," said Politico. "Steve Watkins Sr. confirmed in a brief interview with POLITICO that the FEC is investigating him for giving thousands of dollars to his daughters, a home-building contractor and the contractor’s wife, which they then used to max out to Watkins’ campaign. Those types of donations violate campaign finance laws."

Watkins' father is a Topeka doctor who put hundreds of thousands of dollars into a super PAC that went to support the campaign. The elder Watkins claims he didn't know what he was doing is illegal.

"I didn't know that I wasn't allowed to do it," Watkins Sr. told Politico via phone. "I thought you could just give money to them and they could do with it what they wanted."

The younger Watkins' office is denying that there's even an investigation.

When the elder Watkins learned what he did was illegal, he self-reported to the FEC and the money was refunded.

"According to campaign records, Dennis and Katheryn Sumner, as well as Dennis Sumner Construction Co., donated $21,600 combined to Watkins Jr.'s campaign in mid-2018. The campaign later refunded those contributions," wrote Politico. "The campaign also refunded $2,700 to Diane Watkins in June 2018. Diane Watkins, the congressman’s sister, is attorney at the Kansas City, Mo. law firm of Wagstaff & Cartmell, LLP."

"I feel terrible about it," Watkins Sr. said of the possible violations. "My son is getting all this bad publicity for something he didn't do."

He's already been forced to spend about $30,000 in "legal fees" according to the FEC report.

“Neither Congressman Watkins nor his campaign committee are under FEC investigation,” a spokesman for Watkins claimed in a statement. “Congressman Watkins will continue focusing on what has made him successful and built a nearly 30 point lead against his opponent — standing with President Trump, defending conservative values, and battling the political swamp.”

Watkins was accused of voter fraud last year for which a local district attorney is investigating. The Congressman listed his voter registration location as a UPS store in Topeka and may have fraudulently voted in a city council election. Watkins says he changed the address after someone told him about the error.

Read the full report at Politico.