Thursday, July 23, 2015

Clarion-Ledger questions auditor campaign spending. Is there an FBI investigation?

The Clarion-Ledger's Geoff Pender  questioned State Auditor Stacey Pickering's campaign spending and reported there is a possible FBI investigation.  Is this a legitimate story or last-minute campaign hijinks? The newspaper reported:

The FBI has been investigating State Auditor Stacey Pickering’s campaign finance records since at least March, multiple sources, including one of his former campaign staffers, confirmed.



It appears investigators are looking into his campaign’s purchase of a car, a recreational vehicle and a garage door and into reimbursements for thousands of dollars in non-itemized travel to himself and others during off campaign years and whether he reported or paid taxes on personal spending from campaign funds.

Pickering says he has “had no conversation with the FBI on this matter” and his office continues to work joint investigations with the federal agency. He accuses his primary opponent, Madison Mayor Mary Hawkins Butler, of spreading “nasty innuendo and insinuation” and called his former staffer “disgruntled” and said she’s working for Butler.

Tiffany Parrish worked as a fundraiser on Pickering’s first, successful run for state auditor in 2007, and left shortly thereafter. Parrish said she was surprised when FBI agents recently showed her that a BMW 325i she sold Pickering in 2011 was listed on his campaign finance report as a “fundraising fee expense” instead of a car.....

 Pickering would not consent to an interview and canceled an editorial board meeting scheduled Thursday with The Clarion-Ledger. He sent a brief written statement saying he knows nothing of an FBI investigation and criticizing Butler and Parrish. He said in the statement, “We will not let these negative campaign tactics disrupt our positive message in the final 12 days of this Republican primary election.”....

Pickering’s campaign finance reports show a large amount of non-itemized travel expenditures, with payments to himself, a credit card, his wife and two banks. For 2012, 2013 and 2014, all off-years for statewide campaigns, these expenses total $135,637. During roughly this period, taxpayers reimbursed Pickering $11,125 for official state auditor travel.

In 2012, according to his campaign finance report, Pickering’s campaign spent more than $50,000 in travel. He reimbursed himself $16,231 in “travel, cellular, postage” payments, reimbursed his wife $9,850 for travel, and paid $15,533 in travel expenses to American Express and $8,414 to Regions Bank. The payments to himself included one for $8,266.

For 2013, Pickering reimbursed himself $23,198 for travel plus smaller amounts to American Express and banks, for a total of $40,149. For 2014, the campaign paid $45,460 in travel, including $27,893 to American Express and $2,605 to himself. Pickering’s finance reports also show a payment in May of last year of $3,082 to Laurel Overhead Door for a “campaign expense.”

In 2007, Pickering began making campaign payments of $701 a month to Regions Bank in Laurel listed as campaign use of a recreational vehicle. No such payments show in his 2008 report, but start again in 2009. From early 2011, what appears to be similar payments are labeled “travel expense.” They total more than $55,000..... Rest of the article.

 

60 comments:

Anonymous said...

Was the recreational vehicle the one he has parked @ LeFleur's Bluff full-time? Need directions to it Kingfish?

Anonymous said...

The "multiple sources" are all most likely minions of the Queen.

I won't believe the fbi is involved until the fbi says they are involved.

Anonymous said...

If he's indicted after the primary, the Democrat will win. Pickering should step down now, for the good of the party.

Anonymous said...

Good of the party 7:34? What "party". You Repubs are gone as a party who is your "party". McDaniel, Trump? Bryant? Bush? LMAO. Party. Hahahahaha

Anonymous said...

Gotta love those Pickering spawn. They love the big taters!

Anonymous said...

They could indict, try and convict him before the election and he'd still win over my mayor, whom I really like as a mayor. Stacey's caviar taste have never suited him in his state job. He's never been shy about wanting more money (although, who doesn't). It's just distasteful (at best) coming from your auditor.

Anonymous said...

Lisa Shoemaker is such a sweet girl. Hardworking, representing a great association and doing a darn good job at it if I may add! I am sure the FBI is not looking into anything she did. She was just a young, hardworking campaign worker for Pickering. Even if he did anything bad, I know Lisa had nothing to do with it!

Anonymous said...

Another Steve Patterson

Anonymous said...

The garage door had VOTE FOR Stacey Pickering! paint on it. A very legal campaign expense.

Anonymous said...

"Lisa Shoemaker is such a sweet girl"! Are you kidding! She raped the system while she worked for Stacey. Clocking time she wasn't there all while she was out campaigning. His staffers warned him she would be his demise and lookie here. She wants everyone to think she's so important and the know-all be-all of running campaigns. What a joke! She runs around that Capitol like she is some kind of Queen. She's as guilty as he is. The Cable Association needs to take a hard look at who they have representing them. Why anyone would hire that snake in the grass is beyond me.

Anonymous said...

He should step down.

Anonymous said...

All he has to do is show he paid taxes on his campaign fund while he was spending all those funds. If no taxes were paid then he is guilty of breaking the law . The auditor should know better and should be held accountable. Wrong is wrong . This is why so many people think all politicians are dirty. Mr. Pickering needs to produce his tax returns or step down. another black eye for Republicans.

Anonymous said...

He should step down and Lisa should flee to Mexico. The Mississippi corrections system isn't so good on white girls who are republican fall girls.

Anonymous said...

People this is classic Mary. Do not fall for it.

Anonymous said...

Some of us do play by the rules. Don't let one bad apple spoil the whole basket. Get rid of that bad apple asap!!!!!
This is what is wrong with the Republican Party. They try to cover up the mess their leaders make . Will Phil come out and endorse Stacey
And make it all better. Lol. What fine leadership!!!

Anonymous said...

8:02: What Republican party? The one who has can claim every major statewide position with the exception of AG, and may be able to claim that. The state house and senate, both houses of congress, and probably the presidency. Can you be more out of touch?

As for Pickering, either the FBI is investigating him or they aren't. If a former staffer and other sources confirmed that and he is giving short answers, well... where there is smoke, there is probably fire.

Anonymous said...

I want to think a high-profile, elected official wouldn't be so dumb as to buy his kid a luxury vehicle with campaign contributions, but here we are.

Anonymous said...

This guy holds himself out as holier than those around him and hides behind being a Sunday school teacher, while illegally paying for personal items (Family RV, BMW) and evading taxes by paying for them with campaign funds that were given to him from honest people who bought into his holier than everyone theme. Paying over $700 per month since 2007 for an RV for personal use, and buying a BMW and not paying taxes on any of it. If you or I do that, he sends us to jail and he BRAGS ABOUT IT! His twitter and facebook pages are littered with him bragging about how he sent people to jail for doing less and far less, when you look at how much money. This is a trasty to the Republican party. Gov. Bryant, Senator Cochran, Senator Wicker, and all Congressman should require Pickering to resign. What a scum bag to involve his daughter in his scheme of lies. To involve your children in your deciet is the lowest of low. Pickering will be going to jail for a long time!

Anonymous said...

Politicians start to feel invulnerable and their narcissism takes over. Pickering has looked the other way on some major problems like Madison County. He and Rudy are buds. Pickering and Espy are buds. Now, see the connections? When the FBI busts someone, he calls a press conference and takes credit.

Anonymous said...

Do you people actually believe all of this BS? I'm not saying Pickering is clean as the driven snow; but, after all, this is election year and you know the identity of his opponent. As, someone stated above, "I won't believe the FBI is involved until the FBI says they are involved."

Anonymous said...

What a dumbass, another self-entitled, crusading do-gooder who feels as though the rules don't apply to him.

Anonymous said...

When is Pickering speaking at Neshoba County Fair?

Anonymous said...

He's right, the target of an investigation generally doesn't have "conversations" with agents.

Anonymous said...

They " can neither confirm nor deny". Make of that what you will.

Anonymous said...

If this is truly legit, the people need to know prior to the primary or Stacey needs to step out. Because if its true and he wins the primary, then odds are Pritchett will win the general election in November...and the last thing Mississippi needs is a lesbian holding statewide office!

Irons In The Fire said...

Campaign vehicles and campaign signs have to be secured, thus the wholly acceptable expenditure for a garage door. However, more than two remotes would be considered a luxury and not approved.

That 'this is classic Mary' is an understatement. The woman canNOT possibly be running Madison while working her boney fingers to the bone prosecuting Rudy and The Pick. How does she even find time to be on Peacock-Watch? How does she manage the Police Department?

Anonymous said...

Isn't Tiffany Parrish that big Chris McDaniel supporter from laurel who was really mad that Pickering didn't support McDaniel against Cochran?

Anonymous said...

12:46, was that a joke?

Is Yahweh going to smite the state for having an auditor who's into scissor sex?

Zeus' deluge made new over the state auditor? If so, that guy has anger issues.

Anonymous said...

If the FBI isn't investigating Pickering, they should say so immediately.

If they are, those talking to the FBI should have been advised that lying to federal officer is a " go straight to jail" card.

If this is a campaign stunt, the repercussions for those involved will be severe.

If The Clarion Ledger hasn't done due diligence on this story, the repercussions for them as a news outlet will be serious as well. Heads will and should roll and it could be the paper's demise.

The travel expenses seem way over the top for a State campaign and since those records are available, then just those figures raise questions.

When an elected official has no other source of income save his publicly known salary in the position he holds, and his life style significantly exceeds that of others making the same salary, it should raise questions as to how that life style is being financed. If he or she has had a legitimate financial windfall, they should have no difficulty producing documentation including any benefits the position gives them.

The loyalists in both parties should read the preceding paragraph several times and then hold YOUR party's candidates accountable. The scandal both parties should be focusing on is how so many elected officials become wealthy in office but they would rather keep us busy fighting over " hot button" topics.

If you want to know why our Nation is in trouble, look in the mirror. The voting public is being played for fools by the professional politicians. You are daily choosing ups sides and getting your panties in a wad without sufficient facts upon which to make a judgment about any issue including this one.






Anonymous said...

Who audits the Auditor?

Anonymous said...

Feds looking into personal use of campaign funds has to have Longwitz shaking in his shoes.

Anonymous said...

For what it's worth, it's unlikely The Clarion Ledger would run this story 12 days before a primary if they didn't feel like they had it cold. Too much to lose if they're wrong. Chances are, they've got a particularly credible source who's speaking off the record to validate the Parish allegations.

Anonymous said...

This story has been started by Keith Plunket and Mary Hawkins Butler. Jeff Pender has fallen into a trap. Stacy Pickering may or may not be investigated, but 12 days before a primary? And the main source is Tiffany Parish, paid $500 by Mary Hawkins Butler on the books and who knows what off the books and also linked to Chris McDaniel? And now Keith Plunkett.

Anonymous said...

Pender must have done a lot of research on this issue. It is up to Pickering to produce his tAx returns to prove he did nothing wrong . He will probably ignore all of this hold his head high and act like a saint like most politicians do. It makes me sick. He knows he did wrong and if
He really believes what he preaches, he should confess his sins to the public . The answer from the FBI is a standard one. No surprise there. Shame on Pickering.

Anonymous said...

So let me get this straight...the person in charge of investigating public officials for fraud and corruption might have been involved in the same type of behavior? How arrogant is that? I guess he subscribes to the "do as I say, not as I do" philosophy. What a phony. Vote him out.....

Anonymous said...

Lynn Fitch needs to lawyer up too if this is true. It's been rumored for years she and Stacy were living off their donors. Her reports over the years show all the same questionable unitemized credit card payments and payments to Trustmark, travel reimbursements, etc all while she lived in a $800,000 house on the lake in Reunion. Pretty "creative" accounting for someone with a $90,000 salary.

Anonymous said...

Feds looking into personal use of campaign funds has to have Longwitz shaking in his shoes.

Maybe so but he couldn't be shaking as much as Billingsley is over the discovery of his past campaign contributions to big time liberal Congressional Democrats.

Anonymous said...

For what it's worth, it's unlikely The Clarion Ledger would run this story 12 days before a primary if they didn't feel like they had it cold. Too much to lose if they're wrong.

Absolutely correct.

Kingfish said...

The state has had statewide gay officeholders before and Mississippi seems to have survived.

Anonymous said...

People that get paid for fundraising make about 10% of what the raise. Where is it listed Parrish raised $89,000?

Anonymous said...

I hear the RV campaigns at Disney.

Anonymous said...

Lynn has income other than her state job. I don't believe Pickering does in an material sense.

Anonymous said...

Will the media talk about how Pickering was HR director and Govt relations director for Howard Industries when it was busted with the largest illegal immigrant violation in U.S. history?

Anonymous said...

What is Haley Barbour going to do to help Pickering?

Anonymous said...

The whole Pickering thing makes me sick! I know others probably do it but he just got caught.

Anonymous said...

This is bad. Tax evasion? Wire Fraud? Mail Fraud?

$135,637 in non-itemized travel expenses for 2012-2014, all off-years for elections
$8,900 listed as “fundraising fee expense” to Tiffany Parrish, who said she did not work for him that year but instead sold him a BMW for that same amount
Reimbursements to state auditor staffers for campaign-related work
$3,082 to Laurel Overhead Door for a “campaign expense”

He needs to produce his travel receipts and his tax returns if innocent. Otherwise, he needs to resign.

Anonymous said...

If Lynn Fitch has other income she isn't listing it as required by law on her Statement of Economic Interest with MS Ethics Commission. She lists only the $90,000 salary. Maybe you are referring to her dad's payday lending empire that paid for 75 percent of the primary 4 years ago? But word is he cut her off after getting married couple years ago and Lynn still owes him $300,000 from from last campaign. Shady.

Anonymous said...

Pretty sure there are social media posts showing the RV at Disney World. If it went there.

http://kingfish1935.blogspot.com/2013/08/picketing-pickering.html

http://kingfish1935.blogspot.com/2013/08/sun-herald-slams-state-auditor.html

Anonymous said...

There were parties on the RV while it has been safely stationed within the Mayes Lake campground at LeFluer's Bluff State Park and the park staff has been very courteous of their "dignitary" and his guests while he's been in residence there since the park gate officially closes at 8 PM nightly.

Tell us Kingfish why you don't want others to know that.

Anonymous said...

Her Dad is not a payday lender.

Anonymous said...

The earlier comments about Miss Lisa Shoemaker are cracking me up this morning. Her involvement in all of this definitely helps CSPIRE so I'm glad this all came to light.

Anonymous said...

Pickering has been a major obstruction when it comes to transparency. His role in the DMR debacle to cover for his GOP brethren and their ilk is enough alone to disqualify him from further service to this state.

Johnny Wadd said...

In other news, an Alcorn county supervisor knocked off an O'Reilly auto parts.

http://mobile.wtva.com/display/240/story/de3b93dd5e9ea4e151dc4e3d502c792a

Anonymous said...

Hmmm. Mary Hawkins Butler didn't author Pickering's spending reports. He is putting up a smoke screen trying to blame her for "starting this." The evidence of impropriety is abundant, and obviously has been verified and vetted by a number of sources. He should step down before he kills any chance of a republican holding that office.

Anonymous said...

1) If he's being investigated, then let the FBI do their job. If he's prosecuted, then I'm sure we'll know.
2) The timing of this is very odd, although law enforcement does like to embarrass people. Just depends.
3) What really makes this more odd than just an article including campaign expenditures & the FBI are the constant calls for him to step down all so the democrat won't win. ( that's where the desperation is really seeping through). I've seen it so many times & it looks very desperate. I now understand why many assume that this is *just* dirty campaigning from MHB or anyone else for that matter.

Anonymous said...

This is bad. Tax evasion? Wire Fraud? Mail Fraud?

$135,637 in non-itemized travel expenses for 2012-2014, all off-years for elections
$8,900 listed as “fundraising fee expense” to Tiffany Parrish, who said she did not work for him that year but instead sold him a BMW for that same amount
Reimbursements to state auditor staffers for campaign-related work
$3,082 to Laurel Overhead Door for a “campaign expense”

He needs to produce his travel receipts and his tax returns if innocent. Otherwise, he needs to resign.

July 24, 2015 at 9:34 AM

-----------------------------------

My vote is with 9:34 AM

Anonymous said...

The Clarion Ledger needs to look at Fitch's campaign report she filed in January of 2014. She rented out the Governor's Mansion for a "campaign event" in December of 2012. She even posted the pictures of her facebook page. I didn't know that anyone could rent out the mansion? What about that Phil - Debra was there - were you?

Anonymous said...

If there is truth in the charges Pickering will end up having to withdraw before November. If Mayor Mary ends up the nominee you can mark me down as a vote for Joce Prewitt.

Anonymous said...

He lied about the BMW value. Easy to look up. The value today per Kelly Blue Book (same as he stated he used) is as of today with 200k miles valued at $3,782. Liar Liar pants on ...

Anonymous said...

This may interest the people around Madison that support Butler. The rest of the state isn't too interested in Butler. Who is she and what has she stated about how she will improve this office she is seeking. The majority of the state is going to be looking at the numbers the current guy has produced whether he got all he could or not and he will win in a landslide.

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