Washington, D.C. — Today, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) filed complaints with the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Federal Election Commission (FEC) against Sherry L. Huff, Carey Vaughn Brown, several companies in Mr. Brown’s Internet payday lending empire, and the Republican Union PAC regarding a $1 million “conduit” contribution. Ms. Huff, an employee of Mr. Brown, appears to have made the $1 million contribution to the Republican Union PAC for Mr. Brown or one of his many companies.
Read CREW’s complaints:
Federal law prohibits both making a contribution in the name of another person and allowing someone else to use your name to make a contribution. The willful failure to report such contributions totaling more than $25,000 in a calendar year is a felony punishable by up to five years in jail and fines.
“Between a bookkeeper with no previous history of campaign donations and an extremely wealthy long-time Republican donor, who is more likely to make a $1 million political contribution: the bookkeeper or the billionaire?” said CREW Executive Director Melanie Sloan.
Ms. Huff owns two modest homes in Georgia, assessed at slightly more than $125,000 in total, and for years has worked as a bookkeeper and financial officer for several companies in Mr. Brown’s payday lending empire. Mr. Brown’s businesses have made him rich and, unlike Ms. Huff, he frequently has donated to political candidates and parties.
Other than Ms. Huff’s million dollars, the Republican Union PAC has received only one other donation in the amount of $500. The group used the money to pay for billboards attacking President Obama for supporting same-sex marriage and urging people to vote for Republicans.
“As much as it strains credulity that the first-ever political contribution by a woman of relatively modest means would be for a million dollars, it is equally hard to believe a super PAC with no other donors wouldn’t know where the money came from. Further, if there is one campaign finance irregularity connected to Mr. Brown and his companies, there may well be others,” continued Ms. Sloan. “Unfortunately, given its track record, we can’t expect the feckless FEC to do much about this. DOJ, however, demonstrated renewed interest in criminal campaign finance cases when it unsuccessfully prosecuted former Sen. John Edwards, so perhaps the Public Integrity Section will investigate.”