published Thursday, April 24th, 2014

Federal election officials inquire into two candidates' disclosures

Fleischmann FEC letter
Fleischmann FEC letter

The Federal Election Commission has a few questions for two Republican congressional candidates in Tennessee's 3rd and 4th Districts.

The commission on Monday flagged April quarterly campaign finance reports for 3rd District Rep. Chuck Fleischmann and 4th District candidate Jim Tracy with requests for more information.

According to the filings, the FEC wants to know more about $33,400 in individual contributions made to Tracy that appear to exceed legal limits, and $26,050 he reportedly received from "unregistered organizations."

Tracy, who is from Shelbyville, is challenging Republican incumbent Rep. Scott DesJarlais, R-Tenn., in the August primary.

Stephanie Jarnagin, Tracy's campaign manager, said the contributions were not excessive, and only needed to be reattributed to meet FEC rules.

"We have a compliance firm that we work with, that makes sure we are in compliance and they will take care of it," Jarnagin said. "Our goal is to always be in compliance."

Tracy reported raising $172,061 in the first three months of 2014. In DesJarlais' disclosure, the South Pittsburg physician reported picking up $76,102. DesJarlais had no flags on his April quarterly, but the FEC has questioned reports in past elections.

Tracy's campaign war chest stood at $913,561. DesJarlais' cash on hand was $198,356, according to reports.

Meanwhile, the FEC is also interested $12,300 in individual contributions and $10,000 in committee contributions to the Fleischmann camp that appear to be excessive.

The commission also is asking Fleischmann to clarify several expenditures in his April report that lack full descriptions.

Fleischmann consultant Jordan Powell said Wednesday the committee was working to clarify the issues.

"We're already in the process of making the required amendments to the reports and we are following up on them," Powell said. "These reports are not out of the ordinary."

Fleischmann raised $305,270 in the first quarter and has more than $640,000 on hand, although reports show about $91,500 can be used in the primary.

Republican challenger Weston Wamp, has $373,000 on hand, after raising $403,000. Wamp had no FEC requests for April, but in February the commission questioned his campaign committee statement. Reports show the committee failed to indicate its political party in its January filing.

Democrat Mary M. Headrick and independent candidate Cassandra Mitchell had not filed reports as of Wednesday.

Both candidates have until May 27 to reattribute, redesignate or refund excessive funds and answer any further questions by the FEC.

Contact staff writer Louie Brogdon at lbrogdon@timesfreepress.com or at 423-757-6481.

about Louie Brogdon...

Louie Brogdon began reporting with the Chattanooga Times Free Press in February 2013. Before he came to the Scenic City, Louie lived on St. Simons Island, Ga. and covered crime, courts, environment and government at the Brunswick News, a 17,000-circulation daily on the Georgia coast. While there, he was awarded for investigative reporting on police discipline and other law enforcement issues by the Georgia Press Association. For the Times Free Press, Louie covers Hamilton County ...

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