WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) — The Delaware Democratic Party has filed a complaint with the Federal Elections Commission alleging violations of campaign finance laws by an Independent candidate seeking to unseat Democratic Sen. Tom Carper.
The complaint, dated Wednesday, alleges that Alex Pires Jr., a wealthy lawyer and southern Delaware businessman, passed out free food and drinks from bars and restaurants he owns at campaign events without disclosing any payments to those businesses for the food and staff time used. The Democrats allege that Pires violated federal law by accepting prohibited corporate in-kind contributions.
Democrats also claim that Pires has failed to include disclaimers on his website and political communications indicating who paid for them.
"For a guy who has repeatedly referred to Delaware as the most corrupt state in America, Alex Pires doesn't seem to adhere to a very strict code of ethics," Joe Aronson, executive director of the state Democratic Party, said in a statement issued Thursday that also criticized Pires' work as a class-action lawyer representing minority farmers. "From using his businesses as a campaign piggy bank to failing to disclose that his campaign committee is responsible for political advertising, Alex's campaign reflects his footloose past."
Pires responded with his own statement resurrecting an unsubstantiated accusation of spousal abuse by Carper that surfaced during his 1996 gubernatorial campaign and suggesting that Carper has misrepresented his military record by implying that he served in Vietnam.
"In retaliation, he complains to the FEC that I gave three older ladies pieces of chicken from Jimmy's Grill — the best chicken in Delaware," Pires said.
A Carper campaign spokesman described Pires' accusations as "despicable and outrageous."