The Federal Election Commission (FEC) has notified the treasurer of former Republican U.S. Senate candidate Julianne Ortman’s campaign committee that a cash balance discrepancy of almost $130,000 appears in reports filled with the FEC.
Since being notified of the issues with her campaign finance reports, Ortman’s committee did not file an October Quarterly Report, nor has the FEC received any correspondence from Ortman’s committee about the cash imbalance – a period of over two months.
In a letter sent to Ortman’s treasurer Charles P. Erickson on September 16, 2014, the FEC informed Erickson that “the beginning cash balance of this report [Pre-Primary] does not equal the ending balance if your July Quarterly Report.”
According to paperwork filed with the FEC, Ortman’s committee reported an ending cash-on-hand (COH) balance on her July Quarterly Report of $172,831.73. But Ortman’s committee reported a beginning Pre-Primary COH total of $43,288.23.
In total, $129,543.14 is unaccounted for from Ortman’s July Quarterly report to the FEC.
Erickson, who serves on the Waconia City Council, did not respond to a request for comment. Jim Sanborn, the assistant treasurer of Ortman’s committee and her former political director, provided politics.mn with a statement from Ortman in response to a series of questions about the issues raised by the FEC.
Ortman declined to answer any direct questions about why there is a COH balance discrepancy of almost $130,o00 in her reports or why her committee failed to file a legally-required report or respond to the FEC. But in the statement by Ortman from Sanborn, she said:
“There was an apparent miscommunication between the Treasurer and the FEC Compliance expert. It is my understanding that the Reports and Amendments to earlier reports have all been prepared and are being filed today.”
Sanborn, who was just elected mayor of Waconia, confirmed Ortman would not answer any additional questions about her committee’s filings with the FEC.
While Ortman candidacy ended in June, her committee still owes money to numerous vendors, despite listing a positive COH balance. Ortman’s most recent filing with the FEC lists debt totaling $44,729.70, the largest amount – $15,836.32 – owed to P2B Strategies, which is owned by Gregg Peppin. Peppin’s company also worked for Chris Dahlberg’s unsuccessful U.S. Senate campaign, Jeff Johnson’s unsuccessful campaign for governor and Randy Gilbert’s unsuccessful campaign for state auditor.
Mike Fleming, the husband of Ortman campaign staffer Dorothy Fleming, is still owed money to his company totaling $4,483.41. Fleming went to Facebook yesterday and expressed his frustration that Dorothy has been owed $3,120.53 for “over 5 months…”
Campaign committees, especially of unsuccessful candidates, often list debt and obligations on their reports to vendors and staff for extended periods of time. But what is puzzling, is that according to the filings Ortman’s committee should have the money to pay any remaining balanced owed to vendors and staff, but her committee has not made these payments.
As Ortman said in her statement to politics.mn, the necessary paperwork with the FEC is “…being filed today.” When Ortman’s reports are available are public examination, I will update this story, so please check back to politics.mn for additional information.