First Volleys Fired In Third District Race

By Jeff Neumeyer

July 12, 2010 Updated Jul 12, 2010 at 5:53 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, IN (Indiana's NewsCenter) --- Republican Congressional candidate Marlin Stutzman is defending his campaign finance reporting yet again, following new attacks from the Third District's top democratic official.

Third District Democratic Party Chair Carmen Darland penned a critical editorial piece, claiming Stutzman lied to the public about the value of in-kind contributions in his failed U.S. Senate run early this year.

Those allegations revolve around private plane flights, and whether those flights were fully disclosed.

That became an issue in early June, after outgoing Congressman Mark Souder sent email messages to GOP leaders statewide, raising questions about Stutzman’s first quarter finance report.

But Darland also takes Stutzman to task for not fully disclosing the professions of all his donors.

Federal election law requires such information about donors who give more than $200 per election cycle.

Darland says Stutzman received two notices from the FEC to get that information turned in.

Darland wrote, "As of your latest amendment, you still have donors that are listed as 'Best Efforts', despite the FEC explicitly stating that this is unacceptable. Voters have every right to know what types of people campaign money is coming from."

Stutzman says it was tough to keep up with donations that were flooding in.

State Sen. Marlin Stutzman/(R) 3rd District Candidate: " We sent them letters, asking for that information. We sent out another one, asking them to send that information to us and, you know, the federal campaign finance laws have been made very complicated, but we're doing our very best to make sure everything's fully disclosed."

Stutzman says efforts are being made to gather the requested information, and that the FEC supports what’s being done.

Darland also charged in the editorial that later on it came to light that a lobbyist and other politicians were among Stutzman’s contributors.

Plus, she alleges Stutzman solicited those same donors for more money when he wrote them back to get their work backgrounds, a practice she claims is prohibited by the FEC.

For his part, Stutzman says it's a shame this is distracting from more serious issues like there being no federal budget in place in Washington D.C.

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