Watchdog urges FEC to probe Herschel Walker campaign over $535,200 payment
A government watchdog organization is urging the Federal Election Commission (FEC) to investigate former GOP Georgia Senate candidate Herschel Walker’s campaign over a payment that Walker allegedly solicited for his company last year.
Citizens for Ethics and Responsibility in Washington (CREW) filed a complaint to the FEC on Friday alleging that Walker and his company, HR Talent, LLC, violated federal election law in accepting $535,200 in donations a donor believed was being directed to Walker’s campaign.
Dennis Washington, a billionaire businessman and friend of Walker’s, believed all of the $600,000 he transferred following a solicitation from Walker was for campaign funding, according to the complaint. But only $64,800 went to Walker’s campaign fundraising committee, while the rest went to HR Talent.
The complaint is based on emails verified and released by the Daily Beast, which first which first reported the money transfer Wednesday.
“This apparent scheme to get around campaign finance laws is breathtaking in its pure brazenness,” CREW President Noah Bookbinder said in a release. “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 complaint notes that the amount solicited by Walker well-exceeded legal campaign contribution limits.
A spokesperson for The Washington Corporations told The Hill that it immediately requested and received a refund upon learning that some of the money went to a “non-political account.” They did not specify when the refund happened.
“The Washington organization has no comment other than to clarify that upon discovering that a certain portion of the political contributions went to a non-political account, the Washingtons immediately requested and received a full refund of such funds,” they said.
The Hill has reached out to a spokesperson for Walker for comment.
The CREW complaint states that whether Washington was refunded does not matter in terms of Walker breaking federal election regulations.
CREW alleges that Walker’s March 2022 email to Washington’s agent appeared to recognize federal campaign limits, instructing to send $64,800 to his campaign committee and the $535,200 to HR Talent.
“Indeed, given Mr. Walker’s apparent familiarity with the legal limits (as exhibited by the structure of his solicitation), Mr. Walker’s violation was knowing and willful,” the complaint states.
Walker then emailed Washington’s agent again in November to specify that another contribution should be divided between the committee and his company.
The agent later responded that someone had told him that any money sent to HR Talent could not be used for political purposes and requested that those contributions be “corrected,” according to a screenshot of an email the agent sent that was included in the complaint.
“A candidate requesting that large sums of money go to a private company in order to evade disclosure and donation limits is deeply troubling,” Bookbinder said.
— Updated 7:09 p.m.
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