BY: Wayne Weidie | Weidie Report
Longwitz is an interesting case. He represents a state senate district that is safe for Republicans. About two thirds of his district represents suburban Madison County and the other third is the Republican areas of northeast Jackson. He defeated a weak Republican opponent four years ago. Once elected he hooked up with Sen. Chris McDaniel’s Senate Conservative Coalition, the anti-Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves’ group of tea party conservatives in the state senate. For various reasons he basically was sent packing by the McDaniel group and then tried to do a make-up with Lt. Gov. Reeves.
Longwitz is not held in high regard by most of his Republican colleagues in the senate. This year Longwitz, as an incumbent, apparently had a solid lead against his Republican primary opponent, Bill Billingsley. However, many of those opposing the re-election of Longwitz feel that his campaign report expenditures raise many questions and would argue that Longwitz is another candidate spending money on personal expenses rather than campaign expenses.
For example, expenses to the same source that total more than $200 in a reporting year must be reported. That means if a candidate spends $20 per month on a certain item to a particular vendor, the cumulative total of $240 a year must be itemized.
In Longwitz’s report of July 8, 2011 he reported $2,062 in itemized disbursements but reported a questionable $4,066 in non-itemized disbursements. The same was true for a Jan. 31, 2013 report when Longwitz reported just $12,475 in itemized disbursements for the full year of 2012, but $13,121 in non-itemized disbursements. Longwitz showed total disbursements of over $25,000 during a non-election year.
Other of his expenditure reports from 2011 through 2015 also look questionable. From late 2014 through May 2015 Longwitz showed undocuments payments to American Express in excess of $5,000. With his district in the Jackson metro area, why would Longwitz have the charges to American Express that one would normally associate with travel such as hotels, etc.?
Longwitz also has reported loan repayments to himself that are far in excess of what he reported as personal loans to his campaign. If you review the campaign finance expenditures of Longwitz since he first starting filing reports when he ran for the state senate in 2011 until his most recent 2015 reports, on a much smaller scale than Pickering’s reports for a statewide office, questions can be raised about whether Longwitz is spending for personal expenses or very legitimate campaign expenses.
If Longwitz is using his campaign account to pay for some personal expense it would sure be interesting to see if he reported that money as income on his federal and state income taxes.