Petty Complaints

Out of debates and down in the polls, Ned Lamont is now accusing Joe Lieberman not only of enabling Bush on the war in Iraq but of creating a nearly $400,000 “slush fund” of petty cash expenditures. Lamont’s campaign is filing a formal complaint with the FEC. (Complaint after the jump.)

“Only an 18 year career politician could dump almost $400,000 in cash into an election and try to call it petty cash,” said Lamont’s campaign manager, Tom Swan, in a statement.

Lamont has used a mere $500 of petty cash, according to the the campaign, although the candidate has pumped millions of his own money into the campaign.

I’m waiting to hear from Lieberman’s campaign, but I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that their response will include the word “desperation.”

–Jason Horowitz

Office of General Counsel

Federal Election Commission

999 E Street NW

Washington, DC 20463

RE: Formal Complaint Regarding Friends of Joe Lieberman

(Committee ID: C00235515)

Dear General Counsel:

Please accept this letter as a formal complaint regarding the apparent violation of Title 11 of the Code of Federal Regulations, section 102.11, by the Friends of Joe Lieberman committee, and Joseph I. Lieberman, individually. As set forth more fully below, the Lieberman committee has failed to account for more than $387,000.00 in supposed petty cash expenditures in violation of 11 C.F.R. §102.11. On behalf of the citizens of Connecticut and all federal taxpayers, it is hereby alleged:

Title 11 C.F.R. §102.11 (2 U.S.C. 432(h)(2)) (Petty Cash Fund) provides:

A political committee may maintain a petty cash fund out of which it may make expenditures not in excess of $100 to any person per purchase or transaction. If a petty cash fund is maintained, it shall be the duty of the treasurer of the political committee to keep and maintain a written journal of all disbursements. This written journal shall include the name and address of every person to whom any disbursement is made, as well as the date, amount, and purpose of such disbursement. In addition, if any disbursement is made for a candidate, the journal shall include the name of that candidate and the office (including State and Congressional district) sought by such candidate.

The Friends of Joe Lieberman committee, and Joseph I. Lieberman, individually have violated the clear and unambiguous terms of 11 C.F.R. §102.11 in at least the following three ways.

First, according to the FEC October Quarterly report filed on October 13, 2006, the Lieberman campaign has petty cash disbursements amounting to $387,561.00, which is roughly 8 percent of its total disbursements, or one out of every twelve dollars spent. On several occasions, petty cash disbursements greater than $100 were reported, as supposed payment for “volunteers.” As summary of these disbursements from the Friends of Joe Lieberman report are attached hereto. These disbursements reflect patent violations of 11 C.F.R. §102.11.

Second, the report does not include the name and address of every person to whom any disbursement is made, as well as the date, amount, and purpose of such disbursement. Again, Friends of Joe Lieberman stands in clear violation of 11 C.F.R. §102.11.

Third, and perhaps most troubling, the Associated Press reported earlier today that Lieberman spokeswoman Tammy Sun claims the cash was supposedly used pay to field coordinators who then distributed money to workers who were canvassing (Andrew Miga, Lamont Questions Lieberman’s Spending, October 23, 2006). There is no evidence that the Lieberman committee kept and maintained a written journal of any kind regarding these disbursements as required by 11 C.F.R. §102.11. As I am sure you are aware, the rationale for this regulation is to, among other things, prevent the creation and utilization of slush funds for illicit purposes. The $387,561.00 involved here is a sum of supposed petty cash expenditures unprecedented in any race in our state’s history. The Lieberman campaign’s patent disregard for this regulation calls for the immediate investigation of this matter by your office to ensure that the voters of Connecticut can be fairly informed about the conduct of their elected officials.

I would appreciate you contacting me to confirm receipt of this complaint.

I thank you in advance for your attention to this pressing matter.

Sincerely Yours,

Thomas Swan

300 Reasearch Parkway, Suite 102

Meriden, CT 06450