Cleveland.com: Jordan’s campaign faces questions over accounting discrepancies that exceed $100K

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Federal Election Commission on Tuesday asked U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan’s campaign committee to explain large accounting discrepancies between reports it filed several years ago and corrected reports the committee filed earlier this year.

The campaign says no money was ever missing from its accounts, and blames the inconsistencies on troubles adjusting to skyrocketing donations as Jordan’s national profile grew.

Four March 2 letters from the FEC ask Jordan’s campaign to explain:

• An increase in disbursements totaling $122,706.60 on its 2018 post-general election report.

• A decrease in disbursements totaling $130,319.97 on a report of the campaign’s income and expenses during the final weeks of 2018.

• A decrease in receipts totaling $111,950.54 on Jordan’s campaign finance report for the first quarter of 2019.

• An increase in disbursements totaling $38,822.23 and a decrease in receipts totaling $164,342.47 on a report of the campaign’s income and expenses in the second quarter of 2019.

Each letter gives Jordan’s campaign until April 5 to respond, and says failure to do so “could result in an audit or enforcement action.”

Jordan’s campaign blames the discrepancies on accounting difficulties it encountered as donations soared in tandem with Jordan’s growing national profile during Donald Trump’s presidency. It filed more than a dozen corrected versions of its old reports with the Federal Election Commission in late January.

“The campaign has filed an amendment with the FEC to correct its campaign finance reports going back to 2018,” said a statement from Jordan’s campaign manager, Kevin Eichinger. “There was never any money missing from the account. In fact, the campaign’s cash balance is actually higher than previously listed on the campaign finance reports. The error occurred when the former campaign treasurer inadvertently double-reported certain fundraising expenses. When the error was discovered, the campaign hired an outside expert to conduct a comprehensive audit and file the appropriate amendments.”

Jordan’s Democratic opponent in the next election, Jeff Sites, connected the discrepancy with Jordan’s no vote on a resolution to help “the FEC more effectively enforce campaign finance law” in a Twitter post, “because you can’t get busted for corruption if you handcuff the cops.”

During the two-year period before Trump took office, Jordan raised $733,416 for his re-election, spent $422,967 and ended up with $1.3 million in his treasury, according to statistics compiled by PoliticalMoneyLine. Over the next two years, his campaign took in $1,241,417 and spent $1,809,464. The bulk of his donations came from Ohio during both those election cycles.

From 2019 through 2020, Jordan raised $18,637,140, spent $13,268,968 and finished with more than $6 million in the bank. At that point, California had eclipsed Ohio as his top state for donors, and people from Florida gave almost as much to Jordan as those from his home state. Eichinger said Jordan received more than 500,000 donations from roughly 300,000 individuals in 2020, with an average donation of $35.

“The outpouring of nationwide support for our message is why we are raising a ton more money,” Eichinger said. “It wasn’t like we were actively looking to raise more money. There was an organic outpouring of support. We needed to put in place the operation to handle that kind of influx.”

Jordan’s campaign hired Thomas Datwyler as its treasurer in July. Brett Kappel, a Washington, D.C., attorney who specializes in campaign finance issues, said Datwyler was among a small number of professional FEC accountants who provide their services to the upper echelon of Republican political committees.

“Discrepancies of $100,000 or more frequently result in a referral to the (FEC) enforcement division for an investigation,” Kappel said.

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