Complaint Filed Against Coburn's Campaign Committee, Treasurer

Friday, February 16th 2007, 3:27 pm
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ Complaints were filed Friday with the Federal Election Commission against Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn's campaign committee and treasurer alleging they violated federal campaign finance laws by not properly identifying contributors in the days leading up to the 2004 election.

The complaint by the nonprofit Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington was filed after a federal audit uncovered several campaign violations by Coburn's 2004 campaign committee, including failing to file last-minute contribution reports and not disclosing enough information about some individual contributors.

CREW said it did not learn of the violations until last month, when the FEC report was made public. Similar complaints were also filed by the group against the campaign committees and treasurers of two congressmen in other states, Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart, R-Fla., and Rep. Marilyn Musgrave, R-Colo.

The complaint involving Coburn, R-Okla., was filed against the Coburn for Senate Committee and its treasurer, Wade A. Stubbs. A spokesman for Coburn, communications director John Hart, said the complaint was a partisan attack from an organization he said is run by Democratic operatives.

``The FEC has already completed its audit of Dr. Coburn's campaign. Dr. Coburn has taken full responsibility for errors that were made and has corrected those errors,'' Hart said.

On its Web site, CREW describes itself as a ``progressive legal watchdog group.''

Coburn defeated former U.S. Rep. Brad Carson, a Claremore Democrat, in the 2004 general election in the most costly Senate race ever in Oklahoma. In the GOP primary, he defeated former Oklahoma City Mayor Kirk Humphreys and Oklahoma Corporation Commissioner Bob Anthony.

According to a summary of the audit, Coburn's campaign officials did not contest the audit's findings and said the campaign had taken steps to ensure compliance with federal laws.

The audit covered the campaign's financial activity from March 11, 2004, through Dec. 30, 2004. The audit results did not indicate whether the commission, which enforces federal campaign finance laws, will seek fines against the campaign.

The FEC determined that 18 percent of contributions aggregating $200 or more to Coburn's campaign were not itemized.

It also found that the campaign committee failed to file 202 48-hour reports totaling $349,100 in contributions, nearly 7 percent of Coburn's receipts for the entire election cycle.

Federal campaign finance laws require candidate committees to file reports identifying contributors who donate more than $200. They also require campaign committees to file, within 48 hours of receipt, the identity of any contributor who gives $1,000 or more within 20 days of an election _ so-called 48-hour reports.

``Campaign finance laws are not optional,'' said CREW Executive Director Melanie Sloan. ``If candidates don't want to comply with the law, they shouldn't run for office.

``Voters have a right to this information and the FEC should come down hard on campaigns that refuse to provide it,'' Sloan said.