Hank Johnson responds

The Political Insider received an email from the Congressman’s spokeswoman:

“The $1,500 paid by the campaign represented the fair market value of the leased space as required by law.

“Johnson and Johnson Law Group leased space from the property owner and subleased temporary space to the campaign. The campaign payment reflected in April 2007 was a good faith effort to catch up rent which was in arrears.

“As you will recall Hank’s campaign was a grassroots effort that was won with comparatively little money. As a challenger to a sitting member, it is unfair to compare Hank’s campaign expenses to those of incumbents – that’s like comparing apples to oranges.”

Speights said that while the check from the Johnson campaign was written to the Johnson law firm, that sum was then handed over to the property owner — who was not Johnson.

3 comments

  1. Harry says:

    The rent was in arrears. A good faith effort was made to catch up the rent. The landlord’s a nice guy. It’s all good.

  2. juliobarrios says:

    Nothing against Hank, because I think he’s a heck of an improvement over the previous occupant, but I don’t think you’re entitled to overpay the rent (to yourself) just because you’re an incumbent versus being a challenger.

    I believe the proper way to have listed the rent on the disclosure, during his challenger campaign, was as an in-kind contribution or as a loan to the campaign. If he listed it as a loan then he would be fully entitled to pay it back, assuming you could provide some sort of justification for fair market value.

    It was probably an oversight on his part and he’s now trying to make up for it with the rent overpayment.

    It appears to be a fairly minor infraction.

  3. steelfist says:

    If he owed money to the landlord or whomever, it should have been filed as a debt on the FEC report for that period. He should have carried that debt until he paid it off. If he didn’t report it as debt and it was an inkind from the landlord it should have been reported but more than likely it would have then been an illegal corporate contribution. Either way, he violated campaign law – no minor infraction for failing to report inkind contribution or debt.

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