WASHINGTON – An upstate Democratic leader is seeking two separate federal investigations into Rep. Tom Reed’s payment of a personal tax bill with campaign funds – probes that Reed on Monday said that he welcomes.
John Hurley, the chairman of the Ontario County Democratic Committee, said he planned to file complaints Monday with the Federal Election Commission and the Office of Congressional Ethics regarding the improper tax payment.
In April 2012,Reed, R-Corning, paid a $4,247.83 tax bill on his family vacation home on Keuka Lake using a check from his campaign account, which is against federal election law as well as House rules.
The congressman corrected the error and reported it on his June 2012 campaign finance disclosure form, while filing a memo with the FEC explaining his mistake.
But Hurley said the issue warrants further investigation.
“Whether it was intentional or not, it certainly shows a certain casual disregard for what the rules are,” Hurley said. “And if it happened on one occasion, perhaps it happened on others, so it ought to be looked into.”
Reed has said he accidentally paid the tax bill with a check from his campaign account because he kept both his personal checks and his campaign checks – which were of the same color and from the same bank – in the same folder.
Reed produced a letter from his bank that showed his personal account had sufficient funds to cover the tax bill at the time the payment came out of the campaign account.
Asked about Hurley’s call for the probes on his weekly conference call with reporters, Reed said he would cooperate with any investigation.
“We welcome that review,” Reed said. “As we have said, a year and a half ago, this was a mistake that I took responsibility for. We self-reported it to the FEC, we provided additional information to the FEC and we’ve made reforms in our own process to make sure that it doesn’t happen again. And I’m confident that when we get through this review, that will be the conclusion.”
Reed said he no longer keeps campaign checks in his possession.
Hurley also cited a Buffalo News report from a month ago, which noted that Reed was late 38 times in recent years in paying his property taxes, as another source of concern.
The Rochester Democrat and Chronicle first reported Hurley’s call for the investigations late Sunday.