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Wednesday, August 22, 2018 4:00 pm

Democrats file complaint against Mike Braun

NIKI KELLY | The Journal Gazette

INDIANAPOLIS – The Indiana Democratic Party filed a complaint Wednesday accusing Republican Senate nominee Mike Braun of hiding $250,000 in additional loans during the final days of the GOP Senate primary.

But Braun's campaign provided documentation to reporters showing the candidate followed the law.

Braun loaned his campaign $250,000 on April 23 - about two weeks before the May primary.

Under federal campaign finance laws, campaigns are required to report all contributions of $1,000 or more within a 48-hour window if the contributions come in the last 20 days of the race.

But Indiana Democratic Party Chairman John Zody said Braun failed to do so for the $250,000 transaction even though he did file the 48-hour notice on other contributions.

“Rep. Braun seems to have no regard for the rule of law or anything that prevents him from extracting every last ounce of benefit for himself from a situation," Zody said. “Rep. Braun filed a 48-hour notice the same day as his illegal contribution, so this is no rookie mistake. It’s simply that he doesn’t believe legal or moral rules apply to him so long as he benefits.”

The loan was included on Braun's full campaign finance filing in July by Braun.

The campaign provided the original timestamped document of the 48-hour notices that included both the $250,000 loan and another for $385,000.

But when you go to the Federal Election Commission website, that document is garbled - perhaps damaged during transmission.

"This loan was granted on April 23 and timestamped paperwork proves notification was provided on April 25 to the FEC and to the Secretary of Senate," said Braun Spokesman Josh Kelley. "Donnelly and his Democrat party bosses are just trying to distract Hoosiers from the ethical mistake of using his taxpayer funded staff to provide video to create political commercials surrounding the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh – who Donnelly will ultimately support once he receives approval from the liberal-wing of his party.”

Democrats claim that Braun's strategy was to hide the last-minute money from his GOP opponents, who could have tweaked their own efforts.

Wednesday's complaint followed one filed by the Indiana Republican Party Monday against Democrat U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly - whom Braun is trying to unseat. They accuse Donnelly of inappropriately posting b-roll video of him greeting Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh last week. It has not been used in any ads.

 nkelly@jg.net