A $40,000 cash infusion that Republican Helen Chenoweth had said was a personal loan to her congressional campaign was actually a loan from West One Bank on her signature only, with no assured method of repayment, campaign disclosure documents filed Friday showed.
The amendment to Chenoweth’s campaign finance disclosure report, signed by Chenoweth treasurer Wayne Crow, confirmed that Chenoweth did not declare a guarantee, put up collateral or pledge future campaign contributions to secure the loan.
If that’s true, it could be considered an illegal corporate contribution under federal law. The law limits such contributions to $5,000 each in primary and general elections from specially created political action committees.
On the statement required by the Federal Election Commission to accompany bank loan documents, Crow did not say on what basis the loan was made or what assurance there is that it will be repaid.
That loan statement was also not signed by an authorized representative of West One Bank as required by the commission. The bank must declare that the loan was made at terms no more favorable than those given borrowers of comparable credit worthiness.
West One Bank officials did not respond to inquiries about their policy for making unsecured loans of $40,000.
Chenoweth’s campaign owed nearly $100,000 to third parties on July 1 and had less than $20,000 in the bank, according to the midyear report.
Under Federal Election Commission regulations, bank loans to congressional campaigns can be secured by means other than a guarantor, collateral or pledge of future contributions only with approval of the commission.
Commission spokesman Ian Stirton has previously said that the Chenoweth campaign had no such approval.
A spokeswoman said the commission had yet to receive the amendment. But based on the description of the one filed with the Idaho secretary of state, she said the Chenoweth campaign would be asked to provide the additional information required to determine the legality of the loan.
The loan was made to the campaign Nov. 23 after Chenoweth’s victory over two-term Democrat Larry LaRocco. But on three consecutive disclosure reports covering seven months of campaign activity, it was identified as a personal loan from Chenoweth, on which there are no limitations.
While attempting to straighten out the questionable bank loan, the campaign made no attempt to respond to the commission’s request that it comply with requirements that the employer and occupation of individual contributors be listed.
Her mid-1995 report failed to include that information for 42 of her 56 individual contributors. Among the unidentified were Duane Hagadone, Coeur d’Alene resort owner and newspaper publisher, and Gary Michael, chairman of Albertson’s Inc.