Several state Republican parties are still unable to explain major gaps between their 2020 fundraising and spending reports, even after their committees have corrected the discrepancies.
The Federal Election Commission notified the GOP committees of the gaps months ago, after the state parties failed to disclose high-dollar transfers in violation of reporting requirements -- but their explanations have been incomplete, at best, reported The Daily Beast.
"There are layers of problems here, but the basic question is whether the state parties complied with federal disclosure requirements," said Paul Ryan, of the election reform advocacy group Common Cause.
The FEC sent notices to 10 of the 46 states that failed to report high-dollar, same-day transfers from joint fundraising committees to the RNC, and all but one have responded, but few of the states have fully explained why the reports were incomplete.
"The problem stems from joint fundraising agreements — teams of political committees that join together to increase their party's fundraising power and reach," The Daily Beast's Roger Sollenberger reported. "The arrangements are legal, but it appears the GOP has used them to secretly pass millions of dollars from Trump Victory [Fund] to the RNC through apparently oblivious state committees."
"The corrected filings also show that some committees hadn't told the FEC they joined Trump Victory, even though Trump Victory had included them," Sollenberger added. "Their explanations have been unclear."
The joint fundraising loophole allows wealthy megadonors to write a single massive check to the combined contribution limits of dozens of committees, which allows national parties to raise more money from those super-rich donors than the law would otherwise permit.
"These joint fundraising practices amount to little more than legalized money laundering, and allow wealthy donors to sidestep contribution limits and write six-figure checks for the benefit of presidential candidates and the national parties," said Brendan Fischer, of the nonpartisan Campaign Legal Center.
The FEC has issued fines for "knowing and willful" violations of campaign finance law, which can carry penalties up to 200 percent of any of those contributions or expenditures, and omissions in reporting by some party treasurers could expose them legally.
"Campaign finance law would be undermined if a state committee was using an account and not disclosing it, which treasurers must do under penalty of perjury." Ryan said. "It would be even more severe if the RNC was setting up an account and not telling the state party about it."