/Wiggins improperly used state campaign funds for congressional race

Wiggins improperly used state campaign funds for congressional race

Wiggins answered a question by Mississippi Today last Wednesday that he wasn’t aware of the issue and promised to investigate. Wiggins later replied in writing that he had discovered on December 3 that some congressional ads were being charged to a credit account of the (state), Committee to Elect Brice Wiggins. “We corrected this Dec. 3. and the $1,170.07 cost was being reimbursed to state campaign along with a $10 reimbursement I made on Nov. 2.,” Wiggins wrote. Wiggins wrote, “An amend to the FEC file is being made.” He also stated that “my intent is to always remain transparent.” However, Wiggins’ 2021 annual state campaign finance report shows Facebook ads that appear to have been for his congressional campaign. But the report doesn’t show any reimbursement to Wiggins. Wiggins made public his candidacy for Congress on October 25, and changed his Facebook name to “Brice Wiggins For Congress.” This would be in violation of FEC regulations. FEC regulations ban the transfer of “assets” from a state campaign into a federal campaign. FEC regulations say: “Transfers or assets from a candidate’s campaign committee, account for nonfederal elections to his or her principal election committee or another authorized committee for a Federal election are prohibited.” A FEC spokesperson stated that the agency has not issued an opinion on transfer of social media accounts. However, it has addressed donor lists and other lists created by state campaigns. The federal campaign would generally have to pay the “fair market value of the state campaign for such list as they are assets and any transfer less than fair market would be in violation of the rule. Wiggins’ state campaign finances report lists donations and fundraising expenditures that were made after his congressional campaign announcement. Wiggins stated that contributions to the state Senate account were made after October 25th by the companies and individuals listed in the filings. According to previous years’ filings of the (state) Committee for Elect Brice Wiggins in the past, donations and expenses take place throughout the year.” Wiggins confirmed that the name had been changed to the Facebook page. However, she declined to answer further questions about campaign finance. She stated, “You have our Statement. This is it. While FEC regulations and laws may be subject to fines and penalties, the agency usually allows campaigns to rectify the problem. Campaign finances are already a major issue in the race for 4th District. The House Ethics Committee is investigating long-serving Republican Rep. Steven Palazzo for allegations of campaign fund misappropriation and other issues. The House Ethics investigation was prompted by a report from the congressional watchdog agency. It claims Palazzo misappropriated campaign and congressional funds, used his office for his brother’s benefit, and used staff to perform personal errands. There have been reports that Palazzo and his wife used campaign funds to pay themselves and their former spouse nearly $200,000 through companies owned by them — including thousands to pay the mortgage, maintenance and upgrades of a riverfront property Palazzo wanted to sell. According to Mississippi Today, thousands of dollars were also question in Palazzo’s campaign spending on luxury restaurants, sports events, resort hotels and golfing, as well as gifts. READ MORE: Mississippi Today ethics investigation: Was the congressman’s campaign account a slush funds? The watchdog found evidence Palazzo used his office and resources in helping his brother re-enlist. It also questioned Palazzo’s campaign for paying nearly $24,000 to his brother over ten months as a “political coordination” and letting Kyle Palazzo use his campaign’s credit card to pay for food, gas and other goods. Wiggins took aim at Palazzo when he announced his candidacy for Congress. Wiggins stated on his campaign website that “we should all be mad at our own member in Congress being investigated for misappropriating funds and using his position to give unethical or immoral favors family and friends.”