Column: Trahan says finances, paperwork followed the rules

(Reba Saldanha photo)U.S. Rep. Lori Trahan represents Massachusetts' 3rd Congressional District

As I near the completion of my first 100 days in Congress, I am grateful for the support I've received from every corner of the district I'm proud to call home.

The new House Democratic majority is working to get things done for the American people by passing legislation that requires universal background checks for guns, reforming our political process, closing the gender pay gap, and lowering healthcare costs for working class families like the one I grew up in.

Given how precious this moment is and how much work we must do, I want to set the record straight surrounding recent coverage of my personal finances and last year's campaign, specifically the Federal Election Commission complaint outlined in published reports.

 

Any suggestion that I did not have sufficient personal funds to make a loan to my campaign is inaccurate. For more than a decade, I had a successful private sector career, first, as the only female executive at a tech firm and later, as the CEO of Concire, a business strategy consulting firm. As CEO, I earned more than $600,000 over the past two years.

Candidates and members of Congress are required to disclose their finances in May of each calendar year. When I filed my form in May of 2018, it was a snapshot of account balances and income earned in the first five months of that year. That form did not reflect much of the income I received as CEO of Concire after that report was filed. Nor did it reflect the full value of the joint accounts three months later when the loan was processed.

 

A year ago, I was an underdog candidate running a scrappy campaign in which I was being outspent 3 to 1. But, I knew our grassroots support was strong. I raised more money from our district than my nine primary competitors combined. While I am a first-time office holder, I am a lifetime resident of this district. This is my home. It's where I'm raising my young children and where I will work tirelessly to make a difference.

 

It was clear that the primary election would come down to the wire, so we made the decision to preserve our resources for the final weeks and reach voters when they were tuning in to the election. My decision to make a personal loan to my campaign was always part of our strategy. When the time came, I used a combination of personal funds drawn from joint checking accounts and a home equity loan to finance the loan to my campaign.

 

My husband and I grew up in working class neighborhoods, attending public schools in Lowell. I started delivering the Lowell Sun at age 11 and never stopped working. I often talk about the different paths we took to build our successful businesses because I want young people to know they can find success whether they go to college, a vocational school, or become an apprentice. For me, it was a volleyball scholarship that allowed me to attend Georgetown University. Earning that spot on the team required discipline and hard work.

I drew upon these same skills to build a million-dollar business. As a woman, it's an important story to tell so that young girls in public school classrooms in Lowell, Fitchburg, and Lawrence know what's possible.

I believe in transparency and accountability. It's important to me that you know how seriously I take this matter. Public officials are rightfully held to a high standard of ethical behavior, which is essential to rebuilding trust in government.

I've complied with all FEC and House Committee on Ethics regulations regarding my campaign finances and personal financial disclosures. I have retained Perkins Coie, a top compliance firm, to make sure our filings are in order and to make technical amendments that are typical for first-time candidates.

Any member of the public may file a complaint for review by the FEC, and given the state of our politics, such complaints are common. But the filing of the complaint itself is not indicative of wrongdoing. This complaint is without merit, and I am confident the FEC will agree once it reviews the matter.

I am working every day across the 37 cities and towns in our district to fulfill the promises and goals I laid out during the campaign. I will not be distracted from the important work ahead and will stay focused on the issues affecting our communities and families.

Lori Trahan represents Massachusetts 3rd District in the U.S. House of Representatives.

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