NRCC requests probe of Kissell

The National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) has asked the Federal Election Commission (FEC) to take legal action against Larry Kissell, the Democrat who in November came within 329 votes of 121,523 cast of unseating now-5th-term Rep. Robin Hayes (R) in North Carolina’s 8th congressional district.

Kissell will be the center of attention Wednesday night at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s (DCCC) Capitol Hill headquarters when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) joins DCCC Chairman Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) to raise funds aimed at repaying Kissell for money he loaned his campaign from personal finances.

“Kissell’s [FEC filing] reports clearly show a pattern of inaccuracies and misrepresentations,” the NRCC wrote Monday in a letter to the FEC. “Kissell’s debt magically disappears then reappears with no rhyme or reason as to how debt was paid or created.”

In July 2007 Kissell’s 2006 campaign reported owing the candidate $2,140.98 more than in April of 2007.
Between the Kissell campaign’s April and July ’07 quarterly reports, filing categories shifted for the candidate’s debt.
Whereas the campaign reported in April owing Kissell $25,294.87 in itemized debts and obligations for signs and supplies, no debts and obligations were listed in July. The campaign reported owing Kissell only $2,500 in non-itemized personal loans in April, then in July reported owing $19,935.85 in personal loans.

Kissell’s campaign says it switched computer accounting programs between the two quarterly reports, and that the new
program consolidated its debts and obligations to the candidate into personal loans, accounting for the appearance of new loans in the July filing reports.

The NRCC, in its letter to the FEC, wrote that the failure of Kissell’s campaign to report the $25,294.87 in debts and obligations as in-kind contributions, yet another FEC category, would constitute a violation of election filing laws.

“Honestly, the NRCC complaint doesn’t come as any surprise — it’s just a top-targeted race,” a spokesman for the Kissell campaign said Monday. “They’re just going negative a little early.”

Kissell’s campaign has scheduled a meeting with a DCCC election lawyer during its stay in Washington, and says it plans to file an amendment to its reports within 24 to 48 hours of the meeting, reflecting the DCCC’s recommendations for compliance.

An election law specialist with Holland & Knight, LLP, Christopher DeLacy, said it is “pretty routine for all committees to have to file amended reports. Sometimes it’s significant and sometimes it’s not.”

The NRCC, however, told the FEC that “even if Kissell attempts to cure these issues, these attempts do not cure the existing violations.”