TPPCF Files Complaint Against Pro-Cochran Super PAC and Trustmark Bank

May 15, 2014

Tea Party Patriots Citizens Fund (TPPCF) filed a complaint today with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) naming a pro-Thad Cochran Super PAC, the PAC’s treasurer, Trustmark Bank and the bank president as respondents. The complaint says the respondents “willfully and knowingly” violated a federal law prohibiting the bank from making a contribution to a political committee. 

TPPCF General Counsel Cleta Mitchell said, “This involves violation of federal campaign finance laws and blatant disregard for unambiguous FEC regulations. Banks are forbidden from making contributions to candidates or any federal campaign committee. Even powerful pro-establishment insiders are required to follow the law. Documents show that on January 31, 2014, the Super PAC made its first expenditure for attack ads against Chris McDaniel, in the amount of $219,540. The problem was, that was almost $90,000 more than the PAC had in the bank at the time. How did this happen?”

The scheme was revealed in pro-Cochran Mississippi Conservatives PAC’s quarterly FEC filing on April 15: Trustmark President Harry Walker authorized – just two days before the anti-McDaniel ad buy – an unsecured, uncollateralized “loan” to the PAC. “If the PAC didn’t have sufficient cash to secure the ‘loan,’ and didn’t pledge future contributions and if the Bank took no security interest, then under federal law, it’s not a loan at all,” Mitchell said. “It becomes a contribution from a bank to a campaign committee, and that is a direct violation of federal law.”

Significantly, Walker made a $1,000 personal contribution to Thad Cochran’s reelection campaign on the same day as the anti-McDaniel ad buy, and two days after authorizing the unlawful loan.

TPPCF Chairman Jenny Beth Martin also weighed in on the actions of Mississippi Conservatives PAC and Trustmark Bank, “This pro-Cochran PAC – funded by the wealthy Mississippi GOP elite – was so bent on attacking Chris McDaniel it willfully violated federal law. The anti-McDaniel ads were, without question, illegally funded. Now it’s time for the FEC to do its job and hold these people accountable.”

To read the full complaint filed with the FEC, click here.