NYT: Hagerty didn’t disclose Romney donation before returning it

Bill Hagerty attends the Tennessee Republican Party’s Statesmen’s Dinner in Nashville on June 15, 2019. At right is U.S. Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Brentwood). (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

A New York Times setup piece on the U.S. Senate primary election in Tennessee includes an interesting tidbit about how Republican Bill Hagerty’s campaign quietly returned a $5,600 donation from former political mentor Mitt Romney after first depositing it. The Hagerty camp didn’t include the deposit or the refund in its disclosures, a possible violation of campaign finance rules.

According to the Times:

The day after Mr. Hagerty announced his candidacy in September, according to filings with the Federal Election Commission, Mr. Romney’s Believe in America PAC contributed the maximum allowed amount to Mr. Hagerty’s campaign — $5,600. Bank records indicate that Mr. Hagerty’s campaign deposited the check. But in October, Mr. Hagerty surprised Mr. Romney by quietly returning the donation in full.

(Neither the PAC’s contribution nor Mr. Hagerty’s disbursement of the refund appears in the Hagerty campaign’s filings, a potential violation of campaign finance law. A spokesman for the Hagerty campaign said, “Once we realized it was deposited, we alerted the bank and we reversed the transaction, because we do not share Senator Romney’s liberal, anti-Trump political positions.”)

Rival Republican candidate Manny Sethi, of course, has been hammering Hagerty for his past association with Romney, who is seen as a pariah to many Republicans now for voting to convict President Donald Trump for abuse of power during last year’s impeachment.

Here’s the NYT’s main takeaway from the race:

Thursday’s election stands to lay bare whether Mr. Sethi’s attempts to cast Mr. Hagerty as a pawn of the establishment are enough to outweigh Mr. Trump’s endorsement; it will also indicate whether a Senate campaign, absent any other message, can succeed on that endorsement alone.

44 Responses to NYT: Hagerty didn’t disclose Romney donation before returning it

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.