The watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington has named Senate candidate and U.S. Rep. Paul Broun (R-Athens) to its list of the 13 most corrupt congressmen for his failure to adequately explain hundreds of thousands of dollars in loans to his campaign.
“Six years after accepting these shady loans, and more than a year after admitting he misled the FEC about them, Rep. Broun still has not come clean about the circumstances surrounding hundreds of thousands of dollars in loans to his campaign,” said CREW Executive Director Melanie Sloan. “It is well past time for the FEC to fully review the facts and hold Rep. Broun accountable.”
Beginning in 2007, Rep. Broun started making loans to his campaign committee, totaling $309,000. The campaign told the FEC these loans came from Rep. Broun’s personal funds and carried no interest. In fact, from February 2010 to April 2011, the campaign made what it described in FEC filings as “loan interest” payments to Rep. Broun that amounted to more than $30,000. When questioned about the interest payments, Rep. Broun said the payments went to a bank that loaned him the money, directly contradicting what his campaign reported to the FEC about the source of the loan.
In April 2012, CREW filed an FEC complaint asking for an investigation of the true source of the loans. Afterward, Rep. Broun’s spokeswoman disclosed for the first time that the campaign received a home mortgage loan carrying a standard market interest rate from Athens First Bank & Trust. In June 2012, Rep. Broun’s campaign committee filed amended campaign finance reports. The amendments showed two of the loans the committee previously reported as coming from Rep. Broun’s personal funds had actually come from a home equity line of credit from Athens First Bank & Trust with a 5.99 percent interest rate. The amendments also disclosed two previously unreported loans funded by home equity lines of credit from Athens First Bank & Trust.
“Incredibly, Rep. Broun is now seeking a promotion to the Senate without ever fully explaining the source of money he used to get elected to the House,” continued Sloan. “Members of Congress should not be able to evade the basic requirements of the law by relentlessly obfuscating the truth.”
Broun denies profiting personally from interest on the loans that his campaign fund paid to him; the money went to the bank, he says. The Federal Elections Commission is currently investigating the loans based on a complaint CREW filed last year.
CREW has also named Broun in a report on nepotism in Congress for reimbursing himself and his wife for $169,573 in campaign expenses, including mileage, dry cleaning, postage, office supplies, direct mail and advertising.
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