WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. David Scott has used his campaign account to pay more than $500,000 to four family members and his family's business, according to an investigation by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
The Atlanta Democrat, who graduated from the prestigious Wharton School of Business, also had had more than 40 tax liens — some dating to the 1980s and 1990s — placed against his home and business, the Atlanta-based Dayn-Mark Advertising. But none of that means Scott broke any campaign laws, and he says he's paying of the tax debts, some of which he says are the results of mistakes his wife, Alfredia.
"I have done nothing wrong," Scott told the newspaper in an interview Thursday.
Some of Scott's financial documents have been anonymously circulated among news organizations for months, but the first story about them appeared Thursday on The Politico Web site. Scott called the story a partisan attempt by opponents to undermine him.
His business and family members have received between $52,000 and $344,000 every two-year election period. Such transfers are allowed by the Federal Election Commission as long as family members are employed and the business is providing a service it typically provides at a fair market price.
The Scotts say they decided to staff the campaign themselves after spending large sums on consultants during his first campaign in 2002. Scott's two daughters and son-in-law began working for the campaign, and the family started running the campaign out of a single room at Dayn-Mark.
Both Scott's business and his home are located outside his district, which covers parts of Clayton, Henry, DeKalb, south Fulton, Douglas and Cobb counties.
Scott's taxes are under scrutiny, but the congressman blames that on his wife incorrectly filling out tax forms when Dayn-Mark moved its offices. She says she mistakenly used the name of the parent company, The Dayn-Mark Co., rather than Dayn-Mark Advertising, so tax offices treated the advertising firm as a new and separate business.
Both the ad firm and the parent company were billed for the same taxes.
"There was nothing substantially amiss," said Scott's lawyer, Michael Williams of Atlanta. "It looks like some mistakes were made. They will pay what they are required to pay."