A story first reported on “Politicker” is picking up steam and has been confirmed. Paul Ryan appears to have violated FEC laws on campaign finance by paying for Republican National Convention expenses out of his Congressional Campaign account. By FEC law, candidates running for two offices simultaneously must keep separate accounts for each campaign.
According to the latest Ryan for Congress campaign finance report , Ryan’s Congressional campaign spent $59,603.41 specifically itemized as Convention Expenses (beginning on page 1219 of the report pdf).
The Ryan Campaign expenses include multiple rooms at multiple hotels during the convention, including the largest single expense of $34,854.35 at the Marriott Tampa Waterside, the Romney campaign’s base at the convention.
Ryan’s Campaign also paid $4,183.20 for hotel rooms at the Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay, while the Wisconsin delegation was staying in a different hotel operated by the same chain, the Hyatt Regency Tampa. From the article on Politicker:
When we responded asking why so many rooms were purchased, Mr. Seifert sent another email claiming the additional rooms were for “other staff members.” He also provided initial information about the campaign’s spending at the Hyatt.
“As I said when we spoke, the 5 members of the Ryan for Congress staff were there for the full convention. Other staff members of Congressman Ryan’s attended parts of the convention–most notably Congressman Ryan’s keynote address,” Mr. Seifert wrote. “Ryan for Congress reserved 20 rooms at the Marriott and had a couple rooms at the Hyatt, where the Wisconsin Delegation was staying.”
Based on their own disclosure reports Mr. Seifert’s claim Mr. Ryan’s congressional campaign purchased rooms at the hotel where the Wisconsin delegation was staying is untrue. Mr. Seifert has also not responded to a request asking for an explanation of this discrepancy.
Unless Ryan can prove these expenses were clearly for his Congressional Campaign use at the RNC, these discrepancies could be a significant issue – particularly in his local campaign for Congress. The race for the 1st CD has taken a back seat to the Presidential ticket, and challenger Rob Zerban is mounting a considerable challenge to Ryan.
Badger Democracy has emailed both Zerban and Ryan campaigns at this late hour for comment. Updates will be posted as available.
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