In Thursday's press conference Kelty's lawyer, James Bopp, agreed that "a loan is a contribution". However, he went on to argue that personal loans to the candidate are no different than cash advances on credit cards, home equity loans, etc. He added that only loans incurred by the campaign committee and not the candidate need to be disclosed. First off the credit card and home loan argument is weak on its face. This is because the loan is not being made to influence an election - they are simply open lines of credit established outside the bounds, and not specifically earmarked for, the election.
What was interesting is Bopp made a few references to the campaign finance manual but never to any statute. I believe this is because he is simply wrong and the statutes don't support his argument. I'll share my thought process as I've attempted to wade through the relevant sections of the Indiana Code.
The relevant part of the code, I believe, comes from the following statute:
IC 3-9-5-14. Committee’s treasurer reports.Note that the statute clearly says that the contribution doesn't have to go TO the committee but simply be FOR the committee. So the only question remaining is, were the Kelty loans FOR the campaign committee? I'll let Bopp's quote from the press conference speak for itself:
(b) The report of each committee’s treasurer must disclose the following:
(3) The following information regarding each person who has made one (1) or more contributions within the year, in an aggregate amount that exceeds the threshold contribution amount in actual value to or for the committee, including the purchase of tickets for events such as dinners, luncheons, rallies, and similar fundraising events:
"He was obtaining the loan to use for his campaign"Like I said before, Matt Kelty clearly violated campaign finance laws...