Herschel Walker appears to have violated the law by soliciting $600,000 to help his campaign from donor Dennis Washington, then directing more than $500,000 of it to his business, according to a complaint filed today with the FEC by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington.
Emails published by The Daily Beast show Walker soliciting donations well above the legal limits and making clear that the money was to influence his election. In the emails, Walker shows he’s aware of the limits, and appears to be structuring the transfer in a way to not show up as an excessive contribution on campaign finance disclosures, which would constitute a crime under the campaign finance laws.
“This apparent scheme to get around campaign finance laws is breathtaking in its pure brazenness,” CREW President Noah Bookbinder said. “The evidence we’ve seen so far raises so many questions about what was really going on here that only an immediate and thorough investigation will suffice.”
The donor told reporters that once he realized that the money went to “a non-political account,” he requested it be returned to him and that it was then returned. That does not affect the illegality of Walker soliciting and accepting an excessive contribution.
“Even among the campaign finance violations that happen far too often these days, this case stands out,” Bookbinder said. “A candidate requesting that large sums of money go to a private company in order to evade disclosure and donation limits is deeply troubling.”