The Coleman for Congress campaign is denying allegations made by a Prattville lawyer that it violated campaign laws by using trailers to display campaign messages for 2nd Congressional District candidate Jeff Coleman without paying for them.
Richard Lively filed a formal complaint with the Federal Election Commission on Tuesday, accusing Coleman, his campaign and his company of violating a federal law that forbids “the uncompensated use of corporate resources by or on behalf of a federal candidate.”
Included in the complaint was a photo showing a semi-trailer with an image of Coleman and his family and a message “Jeff Coleman for Congress.” Lively said the mud flaps on the trailer “conclusively identify it as belonging to Coleman Worldwide.”
According to FEC filings last month, Coleman’s campaign is leasing equipment from Eagle Leasing Inc., which shares an address with Coleman World Group headquarters. Eagle Leasing, which also is owned and operated by Coleman, is a separate business not under Coleman World Group. The campaign had not paid the outstanding balance by the Jan. 31 filing date, but states on the last page of a 158-page document that it accrued $11,172 of debt with the leasing company.
In an interview with the Dothan Eagle on Wednesday, Coleman said his campaign has followed all federal laws.
“This is just another baseless political attack by career politicians and insider hacks,” he said. “A simple look at our FEC report would show that the trucks mentioned in the complaint are currently being leased by the campaign.
“This is more mudslinging from desperate opponents, whose ideas can’t get them media attention, so they resort to sad and cheap attacks. The people in this district and this county are sick of politics as usual. This is the kind of behavior that only divides us, rather than makes our party and our country stronger.”
The FEC complaint also refers to a 2012 Department of Justice lawsuit against Coleman’s company, claiming it had defrauded the federal government company of $723 million when submitting moving invoices with inflated weights.
Coleman has denied any wrongdoing and said earlier that his company made a business decision and paid a $5 million settlement in the case.
In 2014, the case was dismissed after Coleman Worldwide and Covan World-Wide Moving Inc. paid the settlement and filed a motion stating the plaintiffs failed to make claims specific enough to meet the threshold for a False Claims Act suit.
Coleman is seeking the Republican nomination to replace retiring U.S. Rep. Martha Roby.