Questions of competence, compliance and character continue to dog Josh Welle, the Democrat of Rumson who voted in Virginia in 2016 and 2017, that is running against Congressman Chris Smith in the 4th Congressional District.
NewJerseyGlobe reported yesterday that Welle, blamed errors in his campaign finance disclosures to the Federal Election Commission on software issues and an email address that “the campaign no longer monitors.”
The NJGlobe report emphasized Welle’s proclivity for placing blame on others for his errors and implied that the mistakes addressed in the Welle campaign’s response to the FEC’s inquiry into the April 2018 Quarterly Report of Receipts and Disbursements were technicalities like a missing address or failing to allocate donations between the primary and general election campaigns.
But a closer look at Welle’s reports reveals potentially serious issues beyond missing addresses and the misapplication of donations between the primary and general election campaigns.
Despite spending tens of thousands of dollars with campaign compliance consultants, the FEC has issues with two of the three quarterly reports of the the Welle campaign has filed. The third report was filed only 10 days ago and yet may be questioned by federal officials. In addition to the quarterly reports, the FEC flagged Welle’s pre-primary report. That’s three flags out of four reports.
Most concerning, the FEC says Welle has not disclosed the purpose of campaign funds paid to him personally. Funds paid personally to the candidate that have been disclosed include rent, food, fuel, photography, communications consulting and digital consulting.
Also very concerning is the campaign’s payroll disclosures. The campaign appropriately lists the names and payment amounts to several staffers. What is troubling, is additional disbursements of ten of thousands of dollars to the payroll service, PayChex, which do not disclose the name of the employee paid.
The FEC has instructed the campaign to disclose who has been paid via PayChex.
Why the Welle campaign is paying some employees directly while paying secret employees through PayChex should also be explained.
On October 21, Welle’s campaign treasurer , Larry Fox, told the FEC that he needed until November 1 to explain the the personal disbursements to Welle and to disclose who is getting paid by the campaign via PayChex.