A report released by The Daily Beast is accusing Herschel Walker of what some experts are calling one of the most egregious campaign finance violations in modern history.
Emails that were obtained and verified by The Daily Beast revealed that Walker was wired $535,200 by billionaire and friend Dennis Washington, who believed the money was for his 2022 Georgia campaign for senator. Instead, Walker allegedly had the money wired to his own personal company HR Talent, LLC. The money was also never disclosed in his financial statements. A member of Washington’s team contacted Walker amid concerns about where the funds were and how they were allowed to be used, but Walker’s team seemed to have dismissed them.
“It was good talking with you today,” Tim McHugh, executive vice president for the Washington Corporations, wrote to Walker last November. “After our call, [redacted] reached out to me and said [a person] clarified with you that any funds sent to the HR Talent account cannot legally be used for political purposes. Political contributions must go to either the Team Herschel or 34N22 accounts.”
McHugh continued, “We will need your assistance to get the prior contributions made to the HR Talent account in March corrected.”
It’s unclear what happened to the funds, but the Federal Election Commission has no record of Herschel Walker ever contributing his own money to his campaign, or redirecting it to 34N22, the super PAC that supported him. The amount also exceeded federal donation limits for super PACs. The Daily Beast notes that the money could have been returned to Washington.
Legal experts told the publication that if the allegations were true, Herschel Walker could have violated federal fundraising rules, or even worst, committed fraud. Some even ranked it among the most egregious campaign finance violations in modern history.
“If [Walker] used the campaign to funnel money into his own business, that’s one of the biggest campaign finance crimes I’ve ever heard of,” Jordan Libowitz, communications director at Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, told The Daily Beast.
Others had a similar sentiment about the allegations.
“Campaign finance laws are designed to prevent massive under-the-table payments like those described here,” Brendan Fischer, a campaign finance lawyer and deputy executive director of Documented, told the publication. “While we don’t have all the facts, these emails point to highly illegal, potentially even criminal activity.”
From The Daily Beast:
According to legal experts, campaign finance violations become criminal if the violation was “knowing and willful”—essentially, if the person understands the laws.
At the time of the first email, Walker had already been a candidate for half a year, raising millions of dollars along the way. And he was repeatedly coached on fundraising limits and restrictions since the beginning of his campaign, according to a person involved in those conversations—a fact that is demonstrated in the emails when Walker provides a breakdown of federal donation limits.
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