2024 Senate Candidates Fail to Disclose Personal Financial Information Related to Campaign Funding

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CLC has filed multiple complaints with the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Ethics (Ethics Committee) showing that more than 47 Senate candidates competing in the 2024 cycle failed to file their legally required personal financial disclosure reports in 2023.  

At least nine of those candidates are still running and claim to have loaned thousands of dollars of their own money to their campaigns, but still have not filed the requisite financial disclosure reports to back up the claim, depriving voters of critical information about those candidates’ financial interests and ties — information they have a right to know before they cast their ballots.

In an election year, financial disclosure reports are a valuable tool for voters. These reports can help voters determine what financial interests the candidates on their ballot may be beholden to, or whether their financial holdings may conflict with their official duties.

Importantly, these reports can also provide insight into how a candidate funded their campaign.

Expelled Rep. George Santos proved how dangerous depriving voters of accurate financial disclosures can be, particularly when a candidate falsely reports that he loaned his campaign money.

Rep. Santos claimed to have loaned his campaign $700,000. But his blatantly false financial disclosure statements raised red flags that resulted in the discovery that he never made loans to his campaign.

Nevertheless, he pocketed campaign cash for himself by pretending that the campaign was repaying him for the nonexistent loans.

Voters have a right to know how a campaign is funded. When a candidate loans money to their campaign, voters should feel sure that the money comprising that loan does in fact come from the candidate themselves.

A financial disclosure report provides a snapshot of the candidate’s finances for the year or two leading up to the election. So, if at any moment during that time period the candidate possessed the amount of money they ultimately loaned to their campaign, the financial disclosure report should reflect that.  

For example, Hill Harper is a Senate candidate in Michigan. According to Federal Election Commission (FEC) records, he has loaned his campaign at least $250,000.

When he filed his first financial disclosure report, no income or assets appeared in the report that would explain how Mr. Harper could cover that amount of a loan. Through a spokesperson, Mr. Harper seemed to confirm that the report was inaccurate, not reflective of certain “revenue streams.”

He promised to file an accurate report by February 28, 2024, months after the original report was due. Weeks after that self-imposed deadline, Mr. Harper still has not provided an accurate financial disclosure report to the Senate.

Mr. Harper is aware at this very moment of the “revenue streams” that may have formed the basis of his loan — but the voters are not.  

Mr. Harper is only one of several candidates who gave loans to their campaign but are not providing voters with the legally required financial information.

Peter Meijer, a former Congressman now also running for Senate in Michigan, seems to have loaned his campaign over $1.6 million, but no financial disclosure report appears on the Senate website. As a former member of Congress, he is certainly aware of his duty to file financial disclosure reports.

Jonathan Walker Emord, a candidate in Virginia, has provided more than $300,000 in loans to his campaign, but he has not filed a financial disclosure report with the Senate.  

The following current Senate candidates have loaned their campaign at least $10,000 but have not filed a financial disclosure report that would show voters information about the source of the funding:

  • Col. Timothy Ghannon Burton (Mississippi)
  • Jonathan Walker Emord (Virginia)
  • Dan Eubanks (Mississippi)
  • Jim Marchant (Nevada)
  • Reid Rasner (Wyoming)
  • Ron Vitiello (Virginia)
  • Hill Harper (Michigan)
  • Peter Meijer (Michigan)
  • Sherrell Ann O'Donnell (Michigan)

Failing to file these reports is bad for the candidates themselves, who are losing the public’s trust even before they assume office. But the real harm is done to the voters, who have a right to know how campaigns are funded and are having this information withheld by the very people who hope to represent them.

Delaney is the Director, Ethics at CLC.