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FEC Wants Ron Watkins to Clarify Campaign Funds Discrepancy

  • The Federal Election Commission has asked Ron Watkins to clarify the source of his campaign funds.
  • The FEC said Watkins, who is running for Congress in Arizona, had failed to report an additional $20,626.15 in funds.
  • The suspected QAnon leader has been asked to declare the source of the funds or face an audit.

Suspected QAnon ringleader Ron Watkins, who is running for Congress in Arizona, has been asked by the Federal Election Commission to clarify the source of over $20,000 in campaign funds that the commission says was not previously declared.

According to an FEC letter sent to Watkins dated March 28, the commission is taking issue with an amendment to Watkins’ year-end campaign finance report. The FEC noted that Watkins had filed an amended report disclosing additional receipts totaling $20,626.15 — close to 40% of his campaign funds, which now total $51,214. 

Watkins is widely believed to be the individual who seeded the QAnon conspiracy theory. He is currently running for a congressional seat in Arizona and has announced plans to “double down with God as my compass to take this fight to the swamp of Washington DC.”

The FEC is now requesting two things from Watkins: for the congressional candidate to explain why this fundraising activity was not declared in his original year-end report and disclose the identities of those who contributed more than $200 to his campaign. 

“Failure to adequately respond by the response date noted above could result in an audit or enforcement action,” read the FEC’s letter, which gave Watkins until May 2 to reply to its requests.

“Ron Watkins isn’t new to putting out false information, but there are much greater consequences for lying to the FEC than to users on 4chan,” Michelle Kuppersmith, executive director for the Campaign for Accountability watchdog group, told the Arizona Mirror when asked about Watkins’ filing.

“Ignorance is not a valid excuse for filing false or incomplete reports, and the FEC should consider all appropriate punitive actions if no better reason is offered,” Kuppersmith added, per the outlet.

“A discrepancy that large is very unusual,” Brett Kappel, an attorney specializing in campaign finance at Harmon, Curran, Spielberg & Eisenberg, told Forbes. “It would always result in a letter from the FEC requesting an explanation for the under-reporting of such a large percentage of incoming contributions. That said, the FEC is more lenient toward first-time candidates.”

An earlier FEC filing for the three months ending December 31, 2021, noted that Watkins had raised $32,942.22 in his run for a congressional seat. The sum included a $2,354 loan from his father and fell far short of Watkins’ original target of raising a million dollars for his congressional campaign.

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