By Lyra Bordelon
A campaign finance complaint against the Greenbrier County Republican Executive Committee (REC) has been filed with the West Virginia Secretary of State’s office, citing election laws around limits on anonymous donations. According to the complaint, submitted by Greenbrier County Democratic Executive Committee Chair Paul Detch, the REC listed over $15,000 in anonymous donations “in violation of campaign finance rules which require that the name of every single donor be listed.”
“The law requires that you have to list each of your donors and have to give identification of who the donor is,” explained Detch. “Generally we, at least for the Democrats, here in the past, it’s always been done by check. … Then you list them and at the end of certain periods of time you list the certain donors you’ve had in that time period, then you report it. … We get a warning from the Secretary of State’s office about a week before they’re due.”
The complaint was filed against Ben Anderson, chair of the Greenbrier County Republican Executive Committee, and it’s current and former treasurers, Amanda Reed and A. Faye Dunford.
“In filings for both the third quarter and the 20202 general report, well over $15,000 of campaign donations were reported as ‘assorted supporters’ in violation of campaign finance rules,” reads the complaint. “A fundraiser on October 11, called ‘the largest in Greenbrier GOP history’ was not reported at all, as well as fourteen Facebook promotions between July 5 and October 11. The fundraiser included both an entry fee, live music, and an auction. None of that was reported.”
Anderson explained REC was in communication with the Secretary of State’s office and that the situation emerged as a result of an illness.
“A finance report was due on Friday, October 23rd,” explained Anderson. “Our treasurer resigned due to health issues on the 21st. We have been in close contact with the Secretary Of State office, and they know that due to those circumstances, the report was filed with the knowledge an amended report would be filed a few days later. The GCREC filed its report on time and an amended report has already been filed. We are working on amending further. Amended reports are extremely common, and all of our reports are completed with direct communication with the SOS.”
Anderson pointed to the party’s recent successes.
“Mr. Detch is, as usual, grasping at straws while his jealousy over the recent success of the Greenbrier County Republican Party clouds his judgment,” Anderson said.
Detch pushed back, citing the advance notice of the filing deadline.
“When you start saying the party itself is not abiding by the rules, it certainly indicates if they are for or against corruption or if they’re for or against following rules or not,” Detch said. “We contend that this is an indicator at least if you are a law and order party or whether that’s just a smokescreen to attract voters. If the Democrats have to follow the rules, we expect the Republicans to follow the rules.”
The complaint seeks an investigation by the West Virginia Secretary of State’ Mac Warner’s office, corrective action, penalties, and fines paid. According to a call with the office, they do not comment on any potential complaints or investigations filed with their office.
Warner himself has attended several local Greenbrier County Republican Executive Committee events, such as a recent rally and one headquarters opening. However, Detch has full faith his office will fully investigate the matter.
“What you’re trying to do is to make sure there’s transparency so people can have some confidence in the election and government process,” Detch said. “You don’t want to have people elected who are beholden to certain interest groups or corporations or individuals because it’s a contribution, eventually to candidates. In this particular case, it’s to the Republican Party. We try to support candidates, we certainly try to support issues, and the public has the right to know who’s paying for that.”