FEC Complaint Filed Against Former Kerry Challenger

Posted December 22, 2008 at 9:06am

A Republican consulting firm announced Monday they are filing a Federal Election Commission complaint against one of its former clients, Massachusetts Republican Jim Ogonowski. Additionally, Jamestown Associates Chief Executive Officer Larry Weitzner said he plans to file suit to get payment for the five-figure media buy placed on behalf of Ogonowski’s campaign last May.

A retired Air Force pilot and hay farmer, Ogonowski abandoned his bid against Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) in June. Jamestown Associates plans to file a complaint with the FEC alleging that Ogonowski did not include a $27,361.94 sum owed to the firm on his FEC reports.

“We’re not listed as debt, even though it’s for a media buy that was supposed to be paid upfront,” Weitzner said.

When the FEC complaint and pending lawsuit was brought to Ogonowski’s attention Friday by a reporter, the Massachusetts Republican said he was not aware he owed any money.

“I know we sent them a check right at the end of the campaign,” Ogonowski said. “When I was getting out of the race, part of the reason was money issues. I could not be in debt. … That amount is not familiar to me at all.”

Ogonowski received national attention after losing a special election in the Bay State’s 5th district in October 2008 by only a few points to Rep. Niki Tsongas (D). And despite having the backing of the National Republican Senatorial Committee in his bid against Kerry, Ogonowski quit the Senate race in June when he failed to acquire enough signatures to get on the ballot.

According to election records, Ogonowski’s last payment to Jamestown Associates was for $972.48 on Sept. 30, 2008.

Weitzner said he has contacted Ogonowski and his former staffers several times about payment since the advertisement buy was placed last May, but he has yet to remit payment.

“He’s acknowledged the debt, as have others in the campaign, but he failed to report it in the FEC or find a way to pay us or even attempt to pay us, “Weitzner said. “It’s a disappointment. He really thought highly of Jim, and for him to walk away without making the slightest effort is such a disappointment.”