FEC finds major errors in Bartlett's campaign account
An audit by the Federal Election Commission has uncovered significant errors in Rep. Roscoe Bartlett's campaign account, the agency disclosed Wednesday.
A final audit of the Bartlett for Congress Committee for 2007 and 2008 found that it failed to report dozens of expenses and significantly under-reported the amounts he raised and spent during that period, which covered his '08 re-election run.
The FEC, which enforces federal election law, has not imposed any penalties. Nor did it describe the errors as intentional. However, it said it reserved the right to take enforcement action.
Bartlett, in a statement, said there had been no wrongdoing or misuse of funds. He said the FEC audit showed that he was "honest, not perfect" and that he had acknowledged and corrected the errors.
The state's only Republican congressman, who lives in the Frederick area and represents western Maryland and northern portions of Baltimore, Carroll and Harford counties, is seeking another two-year term this fall. He was first elected in 1992.
According to the FEC, Bartlett's committee understated the amount of money it received by more than $37,000 out of $360,000. Included was a failure to report eight donations from political action committees totaling $7,300.
FEC auditers compared bank records with Bartlett's public disclosure reports and found that his campaign failed to report 63 separate payments, totaling $67,000 (out of overall spending of $272,000). The unreported spending appeared to have been mainly for political advertising and operating expenses, the FEC said.
The FEC did not say specifically why it had conducted the Bartlett audit but did say it generally launches investigations when a campaign committee appears to have not met basic requirements for compliance with federal election law.
In response to the audit, Bartlett's campaign amended its financial reports in a series of filings over the last four months. Bartlett had $416,000 in his campaign account as of the end of June, according to his most recent FEC filing.
"I strive to be as frugal with donations from supporters to my campaign as I am with taxpayers' money," Bartlett said in a statement relayed by his office. "I have been very lucky to benefit from superb volunteers for my campaign rather than paying pricey professional consultants. I was gratified and I hope Sixth District residents and supporters of me will be pleased that the routine audit by the FEC found that there was no missing money or misuse of funds by my campaign. Mistakes identified in reporting have been corrected. The bottom line is that this FEC report reassures the public that above all, I'm honest, not perfect, but honest. When I make mistakes, I acknowledge and correct them."
Bartlett is a heavy favorite to win re-election and faces only token opposition in next month's Republican primary. Two Democrats, Casey Clark and Andrew Duck, are competing for their party's nomination against Bartlett.