The U.S. Senate campaign of former Arizona State Senator Dr. Kelli Ward is accusing an intern for Sen. John McCain’s office of “possible election and credit card fraud” over information the Ward campaign says the intern provided falsely in an effort to avoid paying for the Ward fundraising event that she attended.
On Wednesday the Ward campaign provided a statement from its fundraising chair regarding the McCain intern’s attendance at the Ward campaign event:
While processing payments for the BBQ Fundraiser, we discovered that this person had such poor handwriting we were unable to process her credit card, and the contact info was incomplete. Upon investigation, the street address doesn’t exist, but her name and date of birth were enough to put the pieces together. McCain intern Brenda Arlene Crawford has been caught red-handed.
An image of the contribution form provided by the Ward campaign appears to show an occupation listed that is written poorly and does not appear to match any of the positions listed on the Facebook profile identified by the Ward campaign as the McCain intern’s. No employer was provided and a partial phone number was scribbled out.
According to the Ward campaign, the intern was contacted over the phone regarding the contribution information provided. The conversation was described as the McCain intern accusing the Ward campaign of bullying and the Ward campaign response, “It’s not bullying when someone attends a private fundraiser on private property, knowingly falsifies a document for federal reporting, and tries to get out of paying.”
A representative for the McCain campaign contacted Breitbart News shortly after the Ward campaign release with a request that the intern’s personal information, specifically last name, home address and credit card information, be redacted from any potential story. An email and phone call to the McCain campaign communications director were not answered as of the time of this report.
Note: The Federal Election Commission (FEC) does publish political contributors’ first and last name, address and other contribution details as listed on campaign reports. The FEC does not publish credit card information.
Dr. Kelli Ward said of the incident:
I’d like to thank Senator McCain and his staff for their diligent devotion to attending my events– especially all the clumsy kids with cameras. Although Brenda’s $35 donation could be construed as a conciliatory reparation for a senior level McCain staffer plowing down my mother, I prefer to give Brenda the benefit of a doubt that she too understands the need to honor John McCain with retirement and elect a Conservative Champion for Arizona’s Future. Our campaign’s message and momentum are hard to resist, and I am thrilled to have Brenda on board with Ward!
The Ward campaign later responded to a request from the McCain campaign and asked those who had received the donor form image to not further disseminate it. The new release added, “The donor form does contain some accurate information, so we respectfully ask that it be disregarded and deleted.” It continued, “The Ward campaign does NOT send staff to interfere with our opponent’s public events or enter their private ones under false pretenses.”
As of Wednesday the Ward campaign reported that it has now received the McCain intern’s payment for the event and agreed not to assess a declined payment processing fee and would not “explore possible criminal charges.”
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