Cochran campaign Director of Operations Amanda Shook enjoys some down time in the Dominican Republic between illegal vote buying schemes in Mississippi
By Gary P Jackson
Intrepid journalist Charles C Johnson has uncovered even more evidence of voter fraud and vote buying by the Cochran campaign:
Cochran campaign staffer Amanda Shook was illegally reimbursed for over $40,000 cash in walking around money during the Republican primary, according to Federal Election Commission (FEC) filings. The payments are described as “Reimbursed Expenses – Campaign Walkers.”
Regulation 11 CFR 116.5 expressly defines funds advanced by campaign staff for any reason other than travel or subsistence as a loan. It is illegal under FEC rules to loan money to a campaign in excess of the contribution limit of $2,600. “[I]f your loan exceeds the limits, it is an illegal contribution, even if it is later repaid in full,” notes the FEC website.
Shook was previously alleged to be one of the sources of street cash in an alleged vote-buying operation in a Gotnews.com report from the Reverend Stevie Fielder.
Shook is Director of Operations for the Thad Cochran campaign, where she works for campaign manager Kirk Sims, who was also mentioned by Fielder as someone he worked with on the Cochran campaign. Shook previously worked for Sims in the office of Governor Phil Bryant, where Sims was the governor’s chief of staff and Shook was his scheduler. Sims is U.S. Senator Roger Wicker’s son-in-law.
FEC reports list seven payments by Citizens for Cochran, the candidate’s official campaign committee, to Shook totaling $52,625. The bulk of these payments describe the purpose of the disbursement as “Reimbursed Expenses – Campaign Walkers.” It is unclear how 27 year-old Shook acquired such large sums of cash for the initial outlays. Requests for comment from Shook went unanswered at the time of this writing.
Amanda Shook, nee Mertz, is the same “Amanda” named by Reverend Stevie Fielder last week in the GotNews exclusive interview. Fielder identified an Amanda that he spoke with at the campaign office.
Rev. Fielder came forth to allege vote buying activities of Thad Cochran’s campaign staff. His story has been covered by subsequent reporters, including Matthew Boyle of BreitbartNews.
According to FEC documents filed by Citizens for Cochran, Amanda Shook received seven separate payments from the PAC from May 1-June 3. However, most of the cash walking money, $41,500 was paid to Shook from May 29-June 3, just prior to the Republican Primary. “Walking around money” or street money is the practice of using cash for sometimes questionable purposes during campaigns.
Shortly after the primary and before run-off, Shook left the country for a luxurious vacation at a resort in the Dominican Republic for her husband’s 30th birthday.
Responding to previous Gotnews.com reporting, the Cochran campaign admitted to making cash payments of $25 in envelopes, not $15.
Spokesman Jordan Russell told the Clarion-Ledger: “Whether you’re a high school kid in northeast Jackson or a retired nurse in Greenwood, if you’re out working doors for us, you get paid in cash, in an envelope. Saleem asked the guy for names and addresses for (Federal Election Commission) filing purposes. Why would you ask a guy for names and addresses if you’re buying votes?“
Johnson has much more, including Federal Elections Commission disclosure forms, and quotes from other political leaders regarding cash payments to campaign workers, who say it’s a no-no here.
Johnson vows to make all of the evidence he has compiled available to the FBI.