Home>Congress>Figures in Schmid’s year-end campaign finance disclosure don’t add up

Democratic congressional candidate Stephanie Schmid. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for the New Jersey Globe)

Figures in Schmid’s year-end campaign finance disclosure don’t add up

Democrat’s FEC filings still plagued with problems after campaign’s end

By Nikita Biryukov, February 03 2021 4:48 pm

Fundraising and spending figures in year-end campaign finance disclosures submitted to the Federal Election Commission by former 4th district congressional candidate candidate Stephanie Schmid don’t line up with the candidate’s past filings and leave more than $22,000 unaccounted for.

The filing says she raised $813,097 over the course of the cycle, but numbers don’t add up. The $10,864 she reported raising between Nov. 24 and Dec. 31 only brings her contribution total to $802,002 when added to the $791,138 she reported raising through Nov. 23.

The same is true for Schmid’s expenses, which at $793,706 for the cycle leave $33,476 in spending unaccounted for.

She reported having spent $728,850 over the cycle in her post-general election filings and said she spent another $31,380 in the final weeks of 2020, for total spending of $760,230 through the end of 2020.

There are discrepancies in her cash on hand, too. She had $62,018 banked on Nov. 23 and $19,121 on Dec. 31, but her net spending between the two dates then was just $20,516. That leaves $22,381 unaccounted for.

The only contributions Schmid reported in the year-end filings were two Dec. 16 payments from Paychex, a payroll services company. Those transactions appear among her expenses on Dec. 14 and 15.

Some of her spending items are likely to raise eyebrows too. Schmid issued herself an unitemized reimbursement of $8,668.17. Candidates for federal office are allowed to reimburse themselves for travel expenses and meals during face-to-face fundraising meetings.

At the 2020 Internal Revenue Service reimbursement rate of 57.5 cents per mile, Schmid would have had to drive 15,075 miles for campaign-related reasons to reach that amount on mileage alone, but because the reimbursement is not itemized, it’s not clear what expenses the payment was meant to cover.

She reported buying a computer monitor from electronics retailer Best Buy for $197.23 on December 23, more than a month and a half after the campaign ended.

The bulk of Schmid’s year-end expenses were reported on that day, including 12 different payments for web hosting, 11 payments for campaign mobile phones and 14 payments for Facebook spots made amid the social media giant’s political ad blackout.

Schmid did not respond to a 9:45 AM text message requesting an appointment for an interview. She did not immediately respond to a 4:17 PM call seeking comment.

This isn’t the first time Schmid’s filings have come under scrutiny. In September, the FEC threatened legal action against the Democrat over illegal campaign contributions she refunded the next month.

She also failed to disclose a $100,000 loan she made to her campaign in the days before last year’s July 7 primary. Federal law requires candidates receiving donations of over $1,000 in the final days of a campaign report them within 48 hours.

The loan, made through a check dated June 27, was first reported in a 48-hour filing submitted on July 5 that incorrectly listed the contribution date as July 4. The loan was left off her July quarterly report and was not disclosed until her campaign committee released an amended report on July 29.

Schmid got crushed in her campaign to unseat Rep. Christopher Smith (R-Hamilton), losing by 91,683 votes, 60%-38%.