Paul Detch, chairman of the Greenbrier County Democratic Executive Committee, has filed a complaint with the W.Va. Secretary of State’s office alleging that Greenbrier County’s Republican Executive Committee has violated campaign finance regulations.
In his complaint, dated Saturday, October 24, Detch states that the Republican Executive Committee inappropriately attributed over $15,000 worth of campaign donations to “assorted supporters,” which is prohibited under West Virginia Code 389.
In a statement released on Monday, October 26, Detch said, “Filings by the treasurers included over $15,000 in anonymous donations, labeled ‘various supporters’ in violation of campaign finance rules, which require that the name of every single donor be listed.”
The complaint also highlights a Greenbrier County GOP fundraiser event that was held on October 11, as well as 14 separate Facebook promotions, which occurred between July 5 and October 11 of this year.
“Unfortunately, the Greenbrier County Republican Executive Committee has chosen to ignore the law and tarnish that transparency,” Detch said in a released statement.
West Virginia does have laws in place to preserve the transparency of campaign finance, as well as to ensure political donations are used appropriately. Under W.Va. code, there are six financial reporting-cycles in an election year: one report must be provided to the SOS office each quarter, one report must be provided 11 days prior to the primary election and one report must be provided 11 days prior to the general election.
“A finance report was due on Friday, October 23,” Greenbrier County Republican Executive Committee Chairman Ben Anderson said. “Our treasurer resigned due to health issues on October 21. We have been in close contact with the Secretary of State’s office and they know that due to those circumstances the report was filed with the knowledge an amended report would be filed a few days later.”
The GCREC did, in fact, file a report with the Secretary of State on Friday, October 23, and a partial amendment was also filed on Monday, October 26. Although, the amendment is not complete and does not include the items outlined in Detch’s complaint.
“The GCREC filed its report on time and the amended report should be available on the SOS website by this evening,” Anderson said. “Amended reports are common and all of our reports are completed with direct communication with the SOS.”
According to Donald Kersey, general counsel in the elections division at the Secretary of State’s office, “Errors in reporting happen all the time.”
While Kersey was not directly aware of the complaint made against the GCREC, speaking in hypotheticals, he did state that these types of situations are often an oversight and are typically resolved quickly by the party responsible for the error.
Although, as Kersey was not familiar with this specific situation, he could not rule out the possibility of a future investigation into the matter. All West Virginia political contributions and reports filed by county executive committees are available for public review by visiting cfrs.wvsos.gov.