Does Herman Cain have a campaign finance problem? It looks like it.
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that Cain chief of staff Mark Block and deputy chief of staff Linda Hansen started a Wisconsin corporation that illegally helped Cain get his campaign off and running. The corporation, Prosperity USA, paid for “tend of thousands of dollars in expenses for such items as iPads, chartered flights and travel to Iowa and Las Vegas.”
If Cain’s election fund never paid back Prosperity USA, those payments would be a breach of federal tax and campaign law.
Prosperity USA appears to be defunct and Cain’s federal election filings make no mention of the debt. Figures in documents obtained by the Journal Sentinel don’t match payments made to the candidate’s campaign. Those records also show that Prosperity USA’s largest asset was nearly $40,000 owed to the organization by “FOH”–Friends of Herman Cain. FOH owed “nearly $15,000 for an ‘Atlanta invoice,’ about $17,000 for chartered flight service and $5000 for travel and meetings in Iowa, Las Vegas, Houston, Dallas and Louisiana.
Prosperity USA had apparently been underwriting travel for Cain before he announced his plans to run for president, greasing the wheels wherever it could, including a $100,000 payment to the Congress of Racial Equality, a conservative black organization shortly before Cain was a featured speaker at the group’s annual Martin Luther King Jr. dinner.
Cain’s ties to the Koch brothers’ backed Americans for Prosperity are well-documented, so this latest revelation would be a non-story but for the total disregard for tax and campaign finance law the Cain staff has shown. Makes you wonder what else is out there.
Photo from gage skidmore via flickr.