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updated: 2/19/2014 4:47 PM

Campaign funding complaint filed against 8th District candidate

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  • Manju Goel and Larry Kaifesh

      Manju Goel and Larry Kaifesh

 
 

A complaint filed this week with the Federal Election Commission accuses 8th Congressional District Republican candidate Manju Goel of illegally mixing the finances of her campaign committee with those of an Indian American SuperPAC and a private business owned by one of her leading supporters.

But both Goel, 48, and the supporter -- Carol Stream businessman Shalli Kumar -- deny allegations of impropriety.

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"I haven't done anything illegal and my campaign is squeaky clean," Goel said.

Goel, an Aurora resident, is running against Larry Kaifesh, 46, of Carpentersville in the March 18 Republican primary.

The FEC complaint was filed by Schaumburg resident Scott Pierce. Pierce could not be reached for comment, but his attorney, Laura Jacksack, said she does not believe her client holds any position with Kaifesh's campaign.

Nevertheless, Kumar suggested Kaifesh is behind the complaint.

"I wish Larry Kaifesh had better things to do than engage in these things," he said. "Maybe he should learn how to read."

Kaifesh could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

Kumar noted that information on the website of Indian Americans For Freedom (IAFF) -- a not-for-profit agency characterized as a SuperPAC -- shows that he hasn't been involved with it since May 2013.

But Kumar was among its co-founders in 2012 when it advocated for the re-election of then congressman Joe Walsh over Democratic challenger Tammy Duckworth.

Jacksack said the FEC complaint alleges three violations: that Goel's campaign headquarters are located at Kumar's business, AVG Automation, without any apparent paying of rent; that there is no reflection of the campaign paying for staff to the extent that it reports only $55 in expenditures during the third quarter of 2013; and that there is a coordination and fluidity between the entities on campaign mailings.

Kumar scoffed at the accusation of spending only $55 during the third quarter of last year, suggesting that the U.S. government should learn to be so efficient. Goel more seriously answered that there simply wasn't a lot of activity or reason to spend money during that period, which spanned July through September.

Kaifesh didn't formally launch his campaign until November.

Goel said she has never had any involvement with the IAFF but was advised that accepting its help was legal. She added that records exist showing she paid rent for her campaign office space.

Jacksack said it's uncertain whether the FEC would rule on the complaint before the primary, but putting Goel's campaign on notice could at least ensure both candidates are playing by the same rules during the final weeks of the campaign.

Goel said she saw no reason and had no intention of changing the operations of her campaign.

A timeline for FEC investigations provided by the agency's staff showed that it is unlikely, but not impossible, for a ruling to occur before March 18.

The 8th District is roughly centered in Schaumburg and includes parts of Northwest Cook, eastern Kane and central DuPage counties.

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