The Tea Party Express took in $7,500 in donations over the past two years under the name of a woman who died in 2007, the Center for Responsive Politics reports today.
FEC filings show that the Tea Party Express, which funnels most of its contributions straight to the GOP consultants who founded it, reported a total of $2,500 from Joan Snyder Holmes of Guam in 2009, and another $5,000 in September 2010.
Holmes passed away on Feb. 1, 2007.CRP spoke to the Tea Party Express and Holmes’ husband, Lee Holmes, who himself has been a generous donor to the group. Both denied responsibility. Sal Russo, TPE’s chief strategist, said he would have the group’s treasurer look at the donations.
“She died in 2007? You’re kidding me?!” he said.
If TPE finds out the donation was illegal (as it likely was), it has 30 days to either give it back to the donor or give it to the U.S. Treasury.
“Generally, the dead aren’t supposed to give,” Larry Noble, an attorney at D.C. law firm Skadden Arps and former executive director of the Center for Responsive Politics, told the CRP.
CRP also notes that the husband, Lee Holmes, has given donations over the legal limit to Tea Party Express in the past. He has also give excessive donations to Christine O’Donnell’s Senate campaign and to Western Representation PAC, a conservative group that tried to unseat Sen. Harry Reid last year. All three gave the excessive contributions back, as is required by law.