Campaign 2010

Jul 02, 2008

Bucks County Courier Times - Questions surface over Manion fundraiser

<p>A former Republican mayor of Riegelsville wants the Federal Election Commission to investigate a March fundraiser for Tom Manion's congressional campaign that he and Democratic party officials believe violated campaign finance laws.</p>

<p>Manion, a Republican from Doylestown Township, is running against Congressman Patrick Murphy, D-8. </p>

<p>According to the letter, originally filed by Tom Myers of Riegelsville on June 19, a fundraising event that was described as a “champagne reception” for Manion's campaign was held at Worth & Company Inc. in Pipersville March 25. </p>

<p>It's illegal for corporations to make political contributions. In his letter, Myers claims Manion's campaign violated this law since there's no record that the campaign paid the company anything to cover the cost of the event, according to a campaign finance report filed with the FEC in April. </p>

<p>Myers also claims in his letter that a Worth & Company employee had organized the fundraising event. Under federal campaign finance law, corporations may only use employees to work at fundraising events if payment for those services is received from political campaigns in advance. </p>

<p>“This event seems to have been a concerted effort by the company to bundle contributions for Manion, make secret in-kind contributions to him, and buy influence with him,” Myers wrote.</p>

<p>Myers didn't include proper contact information in his original letter to the FEC and it was ruled invalid, according to an FEC spokesman. Myers resubmitted the letter with that contact information Tuesday.</p>

<p>Attempts to reach Myers for comment Tuesday were unsuccessful, but Manion said his campaign had covered all expenses for the event and that no campaign finance laws were broken.</p>

<p>“There's really no issue here,” he said. “We're doing everything aboveboard and doing it the right way.”</p>

<p>In a statement, Doug Thornell, a spokesman for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, said Manion was “trying to play fast and loose with the law.” That Democratic committee provided this newspaper with a copy of Myers' letter. </p>

<p>“This is a serious allegation and raises numerous questions about the conduct of Tom Manion's campaign for Congress,” Thornell said. </p>

<p>Nat Binns, a spokesman for Murphy's campaign, declined to comment Tuesday.</p>

<p>Debra Andrews, a spokeswoman for Worth & Company, also declined to comment Tuesday. Sen. John McCain, the Republican's likely presidential nominee, appeared at a town hall meeting at Worth & Company Monday.</p>