Finance fraud and the campaign trail
Monday morning, Dorothy Gasque got a call from her campaign manager. Gasque is running as a Democrat for the U.S. House of Representatives District 3 seat, so that call isn’t unusual. But the contents of the call revealed a federal crime.
A cash donation was made to Kris Greene, candidate for Port of Vancouver District 1 commissioner, under Gasque’s name. An envelope with five $20 bills was mailed to Greene with nothing but a slip of paper containing Gasque’s name, her husband’s name and their address.
Greene said the donation was unusual because it was the first he’s received via snail mail, but he reported it to the Public Disclosure Commission.
The donation is also especially awkward, and potentially nefarious, because Gasque has been publicly supporting Greene’s opponent Don Orange.
“My suspicion is that it was an attempt to defile me as a candidate for congress among progressive voters,” Gasque said.
Greene promptly submitted an amendment to his PDC report removing Gasque’s name. But the incident is still campaign finance fraud. The pair have filed reports to the Washington state Attorney General, which could require the money to be turned over. Gasque and Greene had previously agreed to donate the $100 to FISH of Vancouver.
Greene declined to comment as to who he suspects committed the fraud. But whoever is responsible could face a civil fine.
He added the campaign isn’t looking through all of its contributions to determine if there was additional fraud, but if anyone else reports an issue, he will seek to remedy it immediately.
“It’s a matter of doing the right thing,” Greene said. “This is my first time ever running for any kind of position. To have somebody do what they did to Dorothy and use my PDC reporting to do it to me is very dishonest.”
The only positive that’s come of the incident, according to Greene, is two candidates working together.
“When do you ever see that?” he said.