Braun campaign fined for campaign finance violations

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By Niki Kelly, Indiana Capital Chronicle

Indiana Business Journal

The Federal Election Commission levied a hefty fine this week against U.S. Sen. Mike Braun’s campaign committee related to 2018 finance violations.

The commission voted 6-0 to accept the agreement, which calls for a $159,000 fine. Forbes broke the news Friday afternoon, calling it the second-largest fine ever imposed on a senatorial campaign.

Braun is in the middle of a six-way race for the GOP nomination for governor of Indiana.

The agreement said Mike Braun for Indiana failed to correctly disclose loan balances, terms, dates, repayment amounts, and other information for transactions totaling $11.5 million involving three bank loans, 13 lines of credit, and 13 candidate loans.

The activity occurred from July 2017 through December 2018.

“The Committee contends that its former treasurer, Travis Kabrick, was responsible for these reporting errors and that he had access to all relevant information and documents from the Committee to properly report these loans. The Committee further contends that its former Treasurer publicly disclosed information regarding the bank loans, which were legal and proper, but the Treasurer made the errors regarding how they were reported on the Committee’s campaign finance reports. The Committee further contends that the reporting errors were technical in nature,” the settlement said.

Josh Kelley, senior advisor for Braun for Indiana, said the agreement makes clear the former treasurer was responsible for the errors.

“(Kabrick) was provided all relevant information and documents from Mike Braun to properly report the loans, all loans were legal and proper, all the details were made public throughout the campaign, and the reporting errors by Mr. Kabrick were technical in nature. It is clear from the agreement this penalty should be paid for by Mr. Kabrick’s thrid-party compliance team responsible for the reporting errors,” Kelley said.

Thomas Datwyler, the current treasurer for Mike Braun for Indiana, also released a statement saying, “Despite having full access to all necessary information and documents, Mr. Kabrick’s reporting on the Committee’s campaign finance reports was technically flawed, although the underlying bank loans were legally and properly disclosed.

“We are committed to ensuring full compliance and transparency in all future financial reporting.”