Griffin campaign received improper PAC contributions, eventually returned them | Arkansas Blog

Friday, May 2, 2014

Griffin campaign received improper PAC contributions, eventually returned them

Posted By on Fri, May 2, 2014 at 10:49 AM

click to enlarge BACK TO PACS: Griffin campaign returns $6,000, it says.
  • BACK TO PACS: Griffin campaign returns $6,000, it says.
U.S. Rep. Tim Griffin, a Republican candidate for lieutenant governor, accepted $6,000 in prohibited political action committee contributions in February and March, but returned the money in April, his campaign said.

Griffin reported receiving a total of $4,00 from the GOP Generation Y Fund Feb. 28, $1,000 from the AKSM Urology PAC in Columbus, Ohio on March 6 and $1,000 from the Big Red PAC of Elkhorn, Neb., on March 14.

Arkansas law says that out-of-state PACs may not contribute more than $500 to Arkansas candidates — nor may the candidates receive more than $500 from such a PAC — unless the PAC is registered in Arkansas. The Ethics Commission considers a contribution as having been accepted when the candidate has received it and held it for seven days without rejecting it or returning it.

It appears the Griffin campaign held the money for more than seven days, though the campaign says the money was returned.

Annamarie Atwood, Griffin's campaign manager, replied to an e-mail query about the apparent problem contributions by saying the campaign had returned the money "in early April as soon as we discovered them. These PACs did not choose to register in Arkansas after we informed them they needed to, so we returned them."  Reports filed so far — the latest was for March — have not reported returns of contributions. Griffin had raised more than $309,000 at that point.

UPDATE: Atwood responded to a followup question. She said the refunds will be reported on the campaign filing may 13. She said the checks were returned April 1.

I'd also inquired about $4,000 given to Griffin Feb. 28 by the Citizens United Political Victory Fund, which is the same name as that for the federal PAC of Citizens United, whose work led to the U.S. Supreme Court ruling opening the door to corporate spending in political races.

Atwood said, "The Citizens United check was drawn on their “Citizens United, Inc.,” account which is a 501C(4). It was not drawn on their federal PAC."

The law says the Ethics Commission may fine a person or PAC that has violated the law on prohibited contributions.

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