Herron Campaign on FEC Complaint

Sep 29, 2010

FEC Complaint Filed on

Fincher’s $250K Campaign Contribution

 Refusal to disclose terms of loan is ‘moral failure’
 
‘Fincher does not respect the law’
 

DRESDEN, Tenn. — A Roy Herron for Congress spokesman said today he hopes the Federal Election Commission will launch an investigation into Stephen Fincher after a prominent election-law attorney filed a complaint over a mysterious campaign loan Fincher may have obtained illegally.

View the Complaint

The contribution in question is a $250,000 loan from Gates Banking and Trust to Fincher for campaign purposes. Fincher reportedly took out the loan on July 8, but withheld the terms of the bank loan from his report filed with the FEC — a major violation of federal campaign finance laws.

“Stephen Fincher’s refusal to disclose the terms of the supposed loan made to his campaign is a slap in the face to every person in the 8th congressional district and a moral failure,” said Brandon Puttbrese, Herron campaign spokesman. “Fincher’s scandalous contribution may pass muster with shadowy special interest groups, but in West Tennessee, backroom deals don’t pass the smell test. The last thing Tennesseans want is a Congressman, whose first day on the job will be an ethics hearing standing trial next to Charlie Rangel.”

Attorney Joe Sandler filed the complaint with the Federal Election Commission on behalf of Roy Herron for Congress. In the letter of complaint, Sandler questioned the $250,000 loan Fincher reportedly gave his campaign from “personal funds” on July 8.

“Fincher stated on his personal financial disclosure form for that period, filed under the Ethics in Government Act, that he had no personal financial assets. And the officer of a bank stated in a press account that the bank was the source of the loan reported to the Commission,” Sandler stated. “The Fincher Campaign, however, did not report this bank loan at all on its filings with the FEC—a serious violation of the law.”

Under the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 and the Commission’s rules, any loan from a bank to a federal political committee must be publicly disclosed on the reports filed with the Commission.

“This is more than just failing to fill out some papers,” Puttbrese said. “This is a moral failure and a refusal to obey the law of the land.”

An official with Gates Banking & Trust, where Fincher’s father sits on the board of directors, publicly stated the Halls bank was the source of the $250,000 loan made to Fincher’s campaign on July 8 — not Fincher’s personal funds.

“Because the Fincher Campaign unlawfully failed to disclose the terms of the bank loan, including the nature and amount of any collateral for the loan, it is impossible to determine whether any collateral was in fact furnished as security for the loan,” Sandler states. “If indeed the loan from Gates Bank was made without any security interest in collateral put up by Mr. Fincher or his campaign, then the bank has made, and the Fincher Campaign accepted, a quarter million dollar illegal corporate contribution.”

Sandler noted that Fincher’s failure to disclose any assets on his personal financial disclosure forms required by the Ethics in Government Act would be a blatant violation of the same law that Rep. Charles Rangel is accused of breaking.

“Stephen Fincher does not respect the law. It is alarming to contemplate having a representative in Congress who does not have a basic respect for the most fundamental ethics laws,” Puttbrese said.

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