The Daily Beast is reporting that state Republican parties are "baffled" by extensive gaps in their fundraising disclosures—gaps that were brought to their attention by the Federal Election Commission (FEC) months ago.
The violations lie in the failures to disclose transfers from the Trump Victory Fund, a small network of megadonors with whom state parties signed legal joint fundraising agreements, some of which weren't disclosed to the FEC.
These joint fundraising agreements allow political action committees to form alliances that broaden their ability to generate donations, especially from super wealthy donors. These donors aren't bound by single-candidate or party contribution limits because they can write a large check to the combined contribution limits of each committee within the agreement.
According to Roger Sollenberger of The Daily Beast:
"The arrangements are legal, but it appears the GOP has used them to secretly pass millions of dollars from Trump Victory [Fund] to the RNC through apparently oblivious state committees."
The Arkansas GOP just recently reported over $3 million in transfers with Trump Victory that they failed to disclose, blaming "clerical errors."
Similar errors are sprouting up across a number of states, with vague explanations from state parties as to why the omissions were made in the first place.
Paul S. Ryan of democracy advocacy group Common Cause told the Daily Beast:
"There are layers of problems here, but the basic question is whether the state parties complied with federal disclosure requirements."
People smelled something fishy.
Others weren't surprised.
Many questions remain unanswered.