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Democratic group asks for DOJ investigation into Herschel Walker's financial disclosure forms
A left-leaning political action committee is asking the Department of Justice to investigate whether Trump-backed Senate candidate Herschel Walker broke federal law by failing to properly file his personal financial disclosures.
End Citizens United sent a letter Thursday to the Public Integrity Section of the DOJ arguing Walker could be running afoul of the Ethics in Government Act of 1978 by leaving off sources that paid him more than $5,000 and a full list of positions he holds in companies.
This comes after a GPB News report earlier this month where several ethics experts raised questions about the deficiencies and found inconsistencies in reporting sources of income and positions held (both compensated and uncompensated), as well as a failure to list any sources that paid Walker more than $5,000 in 2020 and 2021.
Walker's campaign spokeswoman said in a brief statement that "Herschel has and will continue to follow financial disclosure regulations and rules."
Several ethics experts and the End Citizens United group disagree.
“Since launching his Senate campaign, Herschel Walker has embarked on a long pathway of lies — about his business record, his education, and now about his finances, by omitting legally required information on his financial disclosure form,” End Citizens United President Tiffany Muller said in a statement. “Because of his failure to submit a fully accurate financial disclosure report, we’re asking the Department of Justice to investigate if Walker broke the law. He violated public trust with his lies and misleading financial disclosures, and now the DOJ must investigate if Walker is in violation of the law.”
Three campaign finance and government ethics experts who reviewed Walker’s disclosures earlier this month said the lack of required information could prevent voters from understanding potential conflicts of interests if he becomes a U.S. senator.
Walker's flagship company H. Walker Enterprises LLC has a reported value of between $25 million and $50 million, and he reported more than $3 million in shareholder income from 2020 to 2021. It's listed as "business consulting and professional services," but there's no evidence in his filing that any client might have paid Walker or the company more than $5,000.
In a section of the financial disclosure form to list all positions held, H. Walker Enterprises (where Walker is the founder and CEO) is not listed.
"Given the name of the corporation, it is doubtful that Herschel Walker is merely a passive investor or limited partner of H. Walker Enterprises LLC, or that he provides no services that would require disclosure of his formal role with the corporation," the complaint reads.
While Walker lists hundreds of thousands of dollars in income from paid speeches, sports marketing firms, spokesman roles and his Renaissance Man Food Services company, none of those are listed in a section of the disclosure requiring a list of sources that paid more than $5,000.
The letter from End Citizens United asks that an investigation be conducted to "help discern whether there was an attempt to intentionally conceal or manipulate information." Ethics experts interviewed by GPB News said that the financial disclosure form could be confusing, especially for a first-time candidate, but the information is still important to see to whom candidates could potentially be beholden if elected.
Walker is the polling and fundraising leader in the GOP Senate primary, and a never-ending stream of revelations about Walker's personal, professional and financial woes has not seemed to change that status. A Columbus Ledger-Enquirer report found found Walker failed to repay $625,000 in loans he personally guaranteed for a pizza chain called Zoner’s, listed on his disclosure under “Corporate Securities, Non-Public Stock.” The Associated Press did a deep dive on Walker’s “exaggerated claims of financial success,” and found his business records were inflated.
Recent reports in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution have found Walker "has spent years promoting and developing health-conscious products with dubious benefits and a skepticism from the medical community" and that many business schemes have "lost Walker and his business partners millions of dollars and put his companies into deep debt, for which creditors have repeatedly sued Walker and his associates to recover."