End Citizens United (ECU) filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) against Tyler Kistner, candidate for Congress in Minnesota’s second district. The complaint states that Kistner almost certainly violated campaign finance laws by using money from his campaign to pay himself.
From August 2020 to July 2021, Kistner received over $26,000 in mileage reimbursements from his campaign committee for supposedly driving nearly 46,000 miles in his personal vehicle for campaign-related events. The district that Kistner ran in during the 2020 election and is currently running in for 2022 is only 3,000 square miles and only 120 miles across at its widest point. In a district that small, Kistner’s 46,000 miles have been described as “unusually” and “extremely” high. When asked to explain Kistner’s suspiciously high reimbursements to himself for an investigative report, he refused to show travel logs required by the FEC to prove he traveled the miles he claims he did.
ECU’s complaint states that Kistner violated the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 and FEC regulations “by converting campaign funds to personal use through the payment of vehicle expenses that do not appear to be for campaign-related activities.” It is implausible that Kistner drove 46,000 miles during the campaign for exclusively campaign-related events in a district of that size, and therefore it appears that he used campaign funds to fraudulently reimburse himself for personal travel, violating campaign finance law.
“Tyler Kistner wants people to believe he drove ‘the width of the United States more than 16 times’ but refuses to release his travel logs to back it up. His unusually high travel reimbursements show that he likely used campaign funds to bankroll his personal travel, violating federal law and FEC regulations,” said End Citizens United President Tiffany Muller. “If Kistner were telling the truth, he could turn over the logs to prove it. There’s a reason why he hasn’t, and the FEC must immediately investigate Kistner’s suspicious spending and hold him accountable if they find he violated the law.”