Notorious Nellie: Campaign Finance Problems Continue to Plague Ackerson's Campaign to Unseat Steve Buyer in IN-4
The campaign finance filing problems for the campaign of 4th District Democratic challenger Nels Ackerson are nothing new.
Back in October, FEC campaign finance filings revealed that Ackerson was on his second campaign treasurer, sacking the first after violations of that most basic of Federal election laws, the limit on individual campaign contributions.
Since then, Ackerson's personal contributions to the Indiana Democratic Party have been made listing his residence as being in a wealthy Maryland suburb of Washington, while Indiana law requires residency within the state of Indiana (which Ackerson professes to have in his campaign filings).
Residency questions aside, such a wide difference in the places Ackerson likes to call home makes him seem at the very least to be a carpetbagger.
Ackerson's campaign likes the flip-flop.
The guy that went out as campaign treasurer in those filings I posted about in October (James Hurst) came back this year (his replacement, David Center, has been sacked), and with him came amendments to Ackerson's campaign filings.
These amendments show a campaign that continues to be significantly troubled.
On January 3, the Federal Election Commission sent a "request for additional information" to David Center, then the Ackerson campaign treasurer, questioning whether the campaign was fully disclosing all contributions over $200 and providing the required identification information, as required by Federal election law.
Ackerson's Q3 filing had over $100,000 in contributions that were wrongly listed as unitemized (under $200) and had to be reclassified as itemized (over $200, and thus requiring disclosure and identification info) after the FEC caught his campaign failing to meet its basic requirements.
The year-end report for Ackerson's campaign had almost $40,000 in similar such errors. This seems less, until you realize that it was almost two-thirds of all of the money that the candidate raised in Q4.
Indeed, Ackerson had to dip into his own wallet to the tune of $20,000 in order to keep his campaign afloat.
His wife Sharon chipped in $4,600, the most she is allowed by law to donate.
Most of the rest of Ackerson's contributions, almost half of the remainder, came from trial lawyers and big law firms.
Spending between thirty and forty thousand a quarter, this early on, Ackerson isn't exactly piling up the big bucks that he will need for media buys in the fall.
Without his own money being chipped in to pad the contribution numbers, Ackerson's campaign would barely be keeping its head above water.
His fundraising has hardly been at a level that would inspire Democrats at both the state and national level to take a chance on his long-shot candidacy in a district that is so heavily Republican.
And not only is his fundraising lackluster, to put it mildly, what money he is getting in significant quantity is coming from groups (such as trial lawyers and the ultra-liberal Simons) that are not exactly going to lend any credance to the idea of Nels Ackerson being a down-to-earth middle-of-the-road Hoosier.