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Michigan GOP expects it will have to 'clarify and correct' fundraising reports

Craig Mauger, The Detroit News on

Published in News & Features

LANSING, Mich. — Michigan GOP Chairman Pete Hoekstra said in a letter to the Federal Election Commission on Wednesday that his administration has launched a "comprehensive audit" of the state party's finances and expects it will have to remedy problems with past fundraising disclosures.

"This audit is critical to ensuring the accuracy and integrity of our reports," Hoekstra wrote in the letter. "As we gather additional information through this audit, we fully anticipate filing amendments to clarify and correct the reports previously submitted under my predecessor."

The message to the commission, which is in charge of regulating campaign finance at the national level, appeared to be Hoekstra's first formal step toward attempting to rectify a series of inaccuracies in required reports that were filed under former Michigan Republican Party Chairwoman Kristina Karamo.

The Federal Election Commission can impose fines on committees, like the Michigan Republican Party, for filing valid information late.

On Feb. 27, a Michigan judge found that Republican delegates had legally removed Karamo, a former secretary of state candidate, as chairwoman in a vote on Jan. 6 and elected Hoekstra, a former congressman and ambassador to the Netherlands, to replace her on Jan. 20.

Among the reasons critics of Karamo moved to oust her were her struggles to raise money for the party, which had about $35,000 in its bank accounts in August, according to internal records reviewed by The Detroit News.


There were also concerns about whether her administration accurately reported the party's financial activities, like how it funded a leadership conference on Mackinac Island last year and how it handled other expenditures, including paying a business associated with one of her political supporters.

Karamo didn't immediately respond to a request for comment Wednesday.

The Federal Election Commission has flagged an array of issues with the Michigan Republican Party's financial reports submitted under Karamo's leadership.

In a March 26 request for additional information from the party, the commission mentioned the ending balance of one report didn't match the beginning balance of the following report and questioned whether the party was disclosing all of its administrative expenses.


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