Cramer Once Again Proves He Can’t Be Trusted; Would Rather Pad His Own Pockets Than Get Results for North Dakota
(BISMARCK, ND) — Today, Attorney General candidate and Grand Forks attorney David Thompson filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) citing numerous violations made by Kevin Cramer and his campaign. Cramer is no stranger to skirting ethics rules – earlier this year, the Dem-NPL filed an ethics complaint for Cramer’s misuse of taxpayer dollars. Additionally, Cramer has faced criticism for having family on campaign payroll and reimbursing himself hundreds of thousands of dollars – a practice ethics watchdogs called ‘morally kind of sticky.’
“What’s clear is that Kevin Cramer is a crooked Washington politician who has used his campaign committee as a get-rich-quick scheme to con North Dakotans,” said Scott McNeil, Executive Director of the Democratic-NPL. “This latest concerning violation is yet another example of Cramer’s unethical behavior, and he owes the voters answers and full transparency. Just because he’s a politician doesn’t mean Cramer is above the rules – we hope the FEC will look into this manner in a timely fashion.”
The recent FEC complaint addresses three potential violations of election rules:
IMPROPER PER DIEM: Congressman Cramer is not allowed to pay himself a stipend from his campaign account. But his pre-primary FEC report showed his campaign’s use of per diems.
As a federal officeholder, Congressman Cramer is prohibited from receiving any salary or stipend from his campaign. However, the campaign reimbursed him $253.00 for “per diem” meals. The per diem notation suggests that the reimbursement was not for the actual cost of any meals actually paid for, but rather a stipend. This is impermissible and does not comply with FEC rules.
IMPLAUSIBLE MILEAGE REIMBURSEMENTS TO KEVIN AND KRIS CRAMER: The campaign’s reimbursement of $1,152.75 to Representative Cramer and $531.38 to Kris Cramer for first quarter mileage expenses is highly unusual and almost implausible.
Using the Internal Revenue Service’s mileage rate of 54.5 cents per mile, Congressman Cramer would have had to have driven more than 2,115 miles during the months of January, Februaryand March of 2018 for the reimbursement to be valid as a campaign-related expense. Additionally, Congressman Cramer’s wife, Kris – who has recently been on campaign payroll – would have had to have driven almost 1,000 miles during the months of January, February and March of 2018.
It is highly unlikely that Congressman Cramer and his wife drove more than 3,115 miles in the first quarter of 2018 for campaign purposes. 3,115 miles represents a distance further than driving from Bismarck, North Dakota to Corpus Christi, Texas and back.
Such a distance is especially unusual for Congressman Cramer, given that Congress was in session the overwhelming majority of days during the first quarter of 2018 and given Congressman Cramer’s obligation to attend to his official duties in Washington, D.C. and in North Dakota. As you are likely aware, former Congressman Aaron Schock came under fire for fudging mileage expensive.
IMPROPER TIMING ON REIMBURSEMENTS: Congressman Cramer appears to have failed to report a number of expenses within the required reporting period. He should pay these reimbursements back to the FEC to be in compliance with the rules.