In the online discussion related to this afternoon's Unfair Park post regarding Dallas County District Attorney Craig Watkins's campaign finance reports, several comments about Dallas County Republican Party chair Jonathan Neerman appeared, pointing to a fine he received from the Federal Election Commission and alleging that Neerman is the target of an investigation by Watkins's office for money laundering.
Those comments and several others when tracked through an IP Whois revealed "Craig Watkins Attorney" as the organization owning the computer from which the comments were made and "Cbeyond Communications" as the Internet service provider. Cbeyond is the phone provider listed on Watkins's campaign reports.
Neerman responds to the comment about the FEC fine of $37,500 by stressing that the offenses occurred under previous party leadership. He also noted that the fine has been paid and the reports have been amended.
"It wasn't that they were doing anything illegal, it was just that they didn't know what they were doing," he says. "It wasn't like they were sending money to sham companies or anything like that. It's just when you have a federal account, you have to allocate money by certain percentages, and they weren't doing the allocations properly."
As for a possible investigation for money laundering, Neerman says he hasn't been informed of such an investigation.
"I'm speechless," he says. "I don't know under what jurisdiction the DA would launch an alleged investigation. It looks like a campaign ploy from someone inside his campaign office."
We tried to get a hold of Watkins's PR man for comment, but Kurt Watkins's cell phone went straight to voice mail, which was full.
We've included a list of the 15 comments made from Watkins's campaign office after the jump.
"We do have volunteers in our office on a daily basis right now with the campaign heating up, and I wouldn't be surprised if the volunteers read this and started doing those things," he told Unfair Park. "There are a lot of people very passionate about Craig. My mailbox was full because of the many, many phone calls I'd been receiving through the day saying, 'I can't believe they're attacking him;' 'I can't believe things are coming out;' 'I can't believe things are happening.'"
Kurt said he didn't respond to our specific questions about his cousin's campaign finance reports, claiming the statements he gave us were sufficient.
"All of the money was properly reported," he added. "It was paid for services. As you said, it is a family affair. And Craig does hire people from his family to work with him, so that money was spent in the right areas."
Let the games begin says:
Republicans have been good at distorting the facts. Is he not to pay people that work for his campaign? Because they carry the same last name is of no consequence. They provided a service and were paid for it. What's wrong with that? Watkins campaign since I first starting to pay attention has always been a family affair. Are republicans afraid that their is a political dynasty being created before their very eyes.
Posted On: Tuesday, Mar. 2 2010 @ 3:10PM
Federal Election Commission says:
Sam Merten: Is Jonathan Neerman under a criminal investigation by the FEC?
Posted On: Tuesday, Mar. 2 2010 @ 3:13PM
Republicans Suggest! says:
Watkins campaign reports SUGGEST! WOW republicans are really desperate.
Posted On: Tuesday, Mar. 2 2010 @ 3:22PM
Danny Clancy Candidate for DA says:
Republican Jonathan Neerman is concerned with winning. That's it. He will create facts to fit his goal. Just like Tom D'Amore a Toby Shook's protégée and a Danny Clancy supporter. Lied and a man spent 15 years in prison. Republicans want to win an election and will do anything necessary to do so. Let's keep moving forward and not go back to the Toby Shook way of prosecution.
Posted On: Tuesday, Mar. 2 2010 @ 3:25PM
Observer Reporter says:
Sam Merten is your budy Jonathan Neerman under investigation by the District Attorney's Office for money laundering?
Posted On: Tuesday, Mar. 2 2010 @ 3:31PM
Facebook Friend says:
Sam Merten didn't you have on your face book page that you are a republican? Pretty convenient that you would write this story about the most popular Democrat in North Texas.
Posted On: Tuesday, Mar. 2 2010 @ 3:38PM
A real reporter says:
Sammy Merten where is the story on your buddy Jonathan Neerman? By the way arent you a republican. Your face book page said you were.
Posted On: Tuesday, Mar. 2 2010 @ 3:41PM
Ted Watkins from the upper room says:
Ted Watkins Bio- Craig Watkins campaign manager 2002 & 2006. Partied with my campaign workers after my death. It was a campaign expenditure. We had a good time!
Posted On: Tuesday, Mar. 2 2010 @ 3:44PM
Justin says Where is the story of the republicans and their finance reports and how they spend their money. Where is the suggestion that something was done wrong as it relates to republicans. If Merten is such a good reporter he would have reviewed all campaign finance reports of both parties and showed how vastly different Watkins' report is from theirs. He did not because they are not different. Same expenditures and family members being paid by republicans. I guess that would not have made for a good story, or even a story at all.
Posted On: Tuesday, Mar. 2 2010 @ 3:50PM
W from preston hollow says:
Westender whats a texas probate office
Posted On: Tuesday, Mar. 2 2010 @ 3:57PM
What law violation says:
Sanguine What law has Watkins broken. Jonathern Neerman and the Republican party have violate campaign finance laws and were fined for them and are under a criminal investigation by the DA. I guess you really think Sam did a good job by not reporting the real crime! By the way Sam Merten did you call DA Watkins to inquire about a criminal investigation against your friend Jonathan Neerman?
Posted On: Tuesday, Mar. 2 2010 @ 5:41PM
Face Booker says:
Sam Merten does your face book page really state that you are a republican. If so, thats amateur! How can we take your reporting seriously man.
Posted On: Tuesday, Mar. 2 2010 @ 5:44PM
Lame excuse for a reporter says:
Sam Merten Did you verify any allegations brought by Jonathan Neerman against Watkins? Seems you just took his suggestion of wrong doing and wrote a story without an ounce of credibility. You had access to a report about Neerman's criminal activity but did not include it in this lengthy hit story against Watkins. Man you are lame. Lets see you post a response about a call to the DA about any criminal investigation into the republican party's money laundering activity.
Posted On: Tuesday, Mar. 2 2010 @ 5:50PM
res ipsa loquitur says:
What do we call the Republican Chairman Jonathan Neerman for admitting to landuring money. "Criminal" whats the latin translation. Sam Merten do you know the latin translation for criminal?
Posted On: Tuesday, Mar. 2 2010 @ 5:57PM
Call Neerman says:
It seems that Jonathan Neerman is available when criticizing Watkins. Give him a call to find out the complainant Sam Merten. Your article states you called Watkins several times without success. Use the same method you did with Watkins to get to the facts of Neermans criminal activity. Or is it you don't want to get your republican friend in trouble.
Posted On: Tuesday, Mar. 2 2010 @ 6:03PM