Audio Recording Supports Accusations That Nwasike Misused Funds
Yesterday, the Jacksonville Observer was first to report on accusations of financial wrong-doing by Congressional candidate Chris Nwasike, one of three Republicans competing for the right to face Congresswoman Corrine Brown in the November election.
The bulk of the controversy comes from charges leveled by two of Nwasike's former partners in a non-profit venture called Keep God in America, Jerod Powers and Raymond Johnson. They allege that Nwasike had directed funds from the non-profit, through his campaign treasurer, and into his own federal campaign account.
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When reached for comment on the charges, Nwasike’s campaign consultant, Bert Ralston, stated that the checks are not related and that no wrongdoing had occurred.
“This is nothing but a political smear job by people that are supporting one of Chris Nwasike’s opponents in the primary,” said Ralston.
For his part, Powers claims he is working on his own and has no association with any of the other candidates in the race, though he was seen delivering sandbags provided by the Dean Black campaign to Corrine Brown's office in Washington a few weeks ago.
Black is also running as a Republican in the Third Congressional District race.
Powers insists that his primary goal is to see that Brown is defeated in her re-election bid, not to advance the fortunes of any other candidate.
Today Powers released the following audio clip of a conversation between himself and Keep God in America's treasurer, Jay Fields. During the first two months of Nwasike's campaign, Fields was acting as treasurer of both entities and on April 28, he issued a $2,000 check to his wife, Jorgine Fields. That same day, Jay Fields donated $2,000 to Nwasike for Congress.
During the conversation, Powers repeatedly asks Fields why he issued the $2,000 check to his wife, Jorgine.
FIELDS: "That was for Jorgine. You need to talk to Chris."
POWERS: "You're the treasurer."
FIELDS: "That is correct. Chris authorized it."
POWERS: "Chris authorized the check for $2,000?
FIELDS: "He told me to do it."
In addition to the $2,000 check, several hundred dollars from the Keep God in America account were also used to pay business expenses for Jay Fields, who is a handyman. The charges were made to Lowe’s, Ace Hardware, Sherwin Williams, Wal-Mart and other retail outlets.
Keep God in America funds were used for this purpose because Fields was experiencing financial hardship and Nwasike authorized him to dip into the account to cover his personal bills. Though it is not immediately clear how much of that money has been repaid to Keep God in America, the fact that Fields was in such dire financial straits calls the legitimacy of his $2,000 campaign contribution into serious question.
Towards the end of the conversation, Fields tells Powers that he and his wife have been out of work for months while volunteering for the Keep God in America rally. He goes on to say that they are now working eight to ten hour days in the hot sun just to make ends meet and get caught up on their basic bills.
The full video with audio has been posted on YouTube and we have learned that Powers plans to file a formal complaint with the Federal Election Commission on Friday.