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House Candidate Stephanie Schmid. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for the New Jersey Globe)

Schmid shows $240k raised in 3rd quarter

By David Wildstein, October 16 2020 12:28 am

Democratic congressional candidate Stephanie Schmid raised $240,582 during the 3rd quarter of 2020 and has raised $718,280 so far in her bid to unseat 20-term Republican Rep. Christopher Smith (R-Hamilton) in New Jersey’s 4th district.

Schmid’s report shows cash-on-hand of $264,898 as of September 30.

It’s not immediately clear whether Schmid intends to spent all of her campaign cash, or if she is holding back $100,000 to repay what has become a controversial personal loan to her own campaign.

The former U.S. Department of State official spent $163,572 during the 3rd quarter, and $453,181 total since joining the race last year.

Smith has raised nearly $1.2 million for his re-election bid and has $782,456 cash-on-hand.

Earlier this month, after the Federal Election Commission warned of possible legal action over campaign finance violations, the Democratic congressional candidate has refunded thousands of dollars in contributions and acknowledged several reporting errors to the Federal Election Commission.

She has still not answered some issues regarding the payment of campaign staff.

Schmid had been facing an internal investigation by the FEC over allegations that she didn’t properly disclose some campaign contributions for her run for Congress

The Democratic candidate blamed the reporting issues over miscommunications with her campaign treasurer, Jason J. Hinton.

“The treasurer was unaware that these receipts were initially received before the end of the quarter as they were in control of the campaign committee,” Hinton said in a statement to the FEC.  “The committee’s campaign staff is located in New Jersey while the Treasurer is located in Washington, DC.”

Hinton said that some contributions were not entered as 2nd quarter donations in their campaign finance software program, but instead in the 3rd quarter when he became aware of them.

Hinton said that some contributions were not entered as 2nd quarter donations in their campaign finance software program, but instead in the 3rd quarter when he became aware of them.

Since corporations are not permitted to contribute to federal campaigns, Schmid has returned a $300 check from Dora Radiology Associates, Inc.

“The check was a corporate check,” Hinton said.

A $500 contribution from a non-federal Ocean County Democratic Committee account was also returned.  The Schmid campaign said they were “was unable to secure proof of permissible source of funds.”

Schmid also admitted that she never reported a $500 donation from Sharon Lessing that was made in March and acknowledged that it was over the legal limit.  An additional $2,800 was redesignated to the general election.

Another accounting error regarding joint fundraising committee activities that reported the date Hinton received notification and not the dates the checks were received and deposited is being remedied.

“(The) Committee acknowledges the guidance from the FEC,” Hinton said.  “Upon noticing the error, amended 48-hour Report filings were promptly submitted by this Committee, independent of agency prompting, in furtherance of the interests of accuracy and transparency.”

Since becoming a candidate, Schmid has filed a total of seven amendments to five campaign finance reports.  Now the FEC is threatening legal action against her campaign if they don’t properly disclose their contributions.

Among the issues related to Schmid’s filings was a $100,000 loan she made to her own campaign on June 27.

Schmid did not report the contribution immediately before the FEC before the July 7 Democratic primary.  Federal law requires candidates receiving donations of over $1,000 in the final days of a campaign be reported within 48 hours.

The Yale-educated lawyer also neglected to report the contribution on her July 15 report and did not disclose her own loan until an amended report on July 29.

In her amended report, the Schmid campaign says her $100,000 loan was “based on new information.”

Smith was first elected to Congress in 1980, at age 27, after thirteen-term Rep. Frank B. Thompson, Jr. (D-Trenton) was indicted as part of the Abscam scandal.  Smith won, 57%-41%, in a district that Ronald Reagan carried by three points.

Democrats thought they had a shot at beating Smith last year when Democrat Josh Welle raised $1.8 million, the often underestimated GOP congressman raised $1.5 million and won by 12 percentage points.

Smith was the lone Republican in the New Jersey congressional delegation for most of 2019.  Rep. Jeff Van Drew (R-Dennis) joined him when he switched parties last December.

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