Former Republican U.S. Senate candidate and current State Senator Julianne Ortman confirmed tonight that her U.S. Senate campaign wrote a check to rival candidate Monti Moreno, but denies that the payment was authorized by her campaign. Moreno claims that he received the payment for endorsing Ortman's candidacy at the Republican State Convention this past summer.
In response to new questions about the payment to Moreno, Ortman wrote tonight the "check was not authorized by me or by the campaign." Ortman added that "the matter has been referred to [a Federal Election Commission] Compliance expert."
In an interview last month, Ortman would not specifically answer repeated questions regarding her campaign’s payment to Moreno. At the time Ortman wrote, "I don't know about a check to Moreno” but she declined to answer if her campaign committee wrote Moreno a check. Today’s statement is the first from Ortman that acknowledges a check was written from her campaign.
However, despite the check’s existence, the expenditure does not appear on any of Ortman’s filings with the FEC. Ortman’s campaign has had ongoing compliance issues with the FEC, which led her to file one overdue report and amendments to every previously filed report late last month.
Moreno has repeatedly claimed he received $400 from Andy Parrish, who served as a top advisor to Ortman’s campaign, for endorsing her candidacy. Moreno said in a past interview that Andy Parrish wrote him a check in Ortman's campaign office a few days after the Republican State Convention.
Ortman’s statements today seem to indicate that Andy Parrish acted outside his authority when writing the check to Moreno. However, sources inside the Ortman campaign claim that Andy Parrish did have authority to write checks for Ortman's campaign, and did so frequently.
Andy Parrish did not respond to multiple requests for comment about the check to Moreno. Andy Parrish also declined to comment on Ortman's claim that the check written to Moreno was "not authorized by [Ortman] or by the campaign."
Charles P. Erickson, who serves as Ortman’s campaign treasurer and is a member of the Waconia City Council, did not respond to a request for comment. Jim Sanborn, who is listed as the assistant treasurer of Ortman’s campaign committee and was recently elected as the mayor of Waconia, also did not respond to a request for comment.
Picture source: Andy Parrish, Julianne Ortman for U.S. Senate, Monti Moreno for U.S. Senate