By Francisco Alvarado, FloridaBulldog.org
While Ted Cruz was barnstorming Florida last week, the treasurer for his 2012 U.S. Senate bid was refusing to answer a routine inquiry by the Federal Elections Commission to determine where the Texas Republican got the money to loan his Senate campaign as much as $1,000,000.
In a March 8 letter, the Cruz campaign’s Bradley Knippa told the FEC’s reports analysis division, that the campaign cannot fulfill a “Request For Additional Information” (RFAI) about the loans until the elections watchdog agency completes a separate investigation initiated by two complaints filed against Cruz in mid-January. Those cases likely won’t be concluded until next year.
“It is our understanding that the Commission does not send RFAIs during the pendency of a complaint,” Knippa wrote. “Therefore, we intend to file our responses as they relate to this matter in accordance with the agency’s standard practices and procedures.”
Craig McDonald, director of the non-profit Texans for Public Justice, one of the groups that filed a complaint, said the Cruz campaign continues to stall public disclosure that would reveal if major financial institutions Goldman Sachs and Citibank financed his Senate campaign.
McDonald accused Cruz of painting himself as a populist who took on the Wall Street banks when at the same time the same banks secretly funded his senate campaigns.
“This information should have been disclosed in real time so Texas voters could have seen it during his campaign,” McDonald said in an interview. “We believe he deliberately withheld the information because it would have exposed him as a hypocrite.”
Now that Cruz finds himself within striking distance of Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump, the senator is not going to address the FEC’s inquiries until after the election, McDonald said.
“No doubt about it,” McDonald said. “If he wasn’t a candidate for president, this information would be quickly forthcoming.”
Knippa, a certified public account with the Jackson Walker law firm in Austin, Texas, did not respond to a phone message and email on Friday seeking comment. Cruz’s national campaign spokeswoman Alice Stewart did not return two emails and two phones messages requesting a response.
In addition to the complaint filed by McDonald’s group, Democracy 21 and the Campaign Legal Center filed a joint complaint about a week after Knippa notified the FEC on Jan. 14 that Cruz’s senate committee had “inadvertently omitted” a margin loan from Goldman Sachs valued at $100,000 to $250,000, carrying a 3 percent interest, and two Citibank loans totaling $500,000 to $1 million on campaign finance disclosure reports.
Cruz did disclose the loans on a personal financial disclosure form he filed with the Senate on July 12, 2012, three weeks before his runoff against Texas’ then-Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst.
The disclosures with the FEC and the Senate do not describe the bank loans as being used for the campaign. In previous media reports, spokespeople for Cruz have maintained the omission to the FEC was an oversight and not intentional.
Before the March 10 Republican debate at the University of Miami campus, Cruz made a campaign stop at the downtown campus of Miami Dade College, where he made his pitch to a group of GOP voters that he is the candidate who can beat Trump.
According to the Miami Herald, Cruz told the audience: “If you were a Jeb [Bush] supporter. If you’re a Marco [Rubio] supporter now. If you’re a [John] Kasich supporter: We welcome you to our team.”