Sam R. Hall (Clarion Ledger):
However, any money contributed toward the Election Challenge Fund, can be used for any other legal campaign expenses. All McDaniel has to do is file a challenge and go through the process. That allows him to raise another round of $2,600 from maxed out donors and use the money however he sees fit — including paying political staff or repaying his own loan.
The same is true for the second eyebrow-raising email, in which he announced that his campaign would pay up to 15 rewards valued at $1,000 each for information leading to the arrest and conviction of someone on charges of election fraud in the primary runoff election. McDaniel, in the email, said he was asking people to contribute $15 each to fund the rewards. This money, just as the other, can go toward any legal campaign expenditure.
As McDaniel continues to rattle the sabers about how incumbent U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran stole the election — an incredible accusation made by a lawyer of a sitting member of Congress — the lack of evidence of illegal activity is starting to get noticed. Also getting noticed is the fact that the number of double-voters is nowhere near enough to change the outcome of the election. Even McDaniel’s own supporters — some of whom helped review the Hinds County voter rolls — have admitted that the actual number of irregularities in that county is less than half of the publicly stated 3,000.
So while there is little doubt McDaniel is going to challenge the election, people are starting to wonder if the challenge is more about creating a better avenue to raise money to pay off the personal loan to himself or if he’s really looking to raise the millions of dollars an effective legal challenge will cost. That his campaign has ignored questions about the personal loan only makes the questions grow louder.