Rep. Trent Kelly, R-Saltillo

U.S. Rep. Trent Kelly, who represents Mississippi’s 1st Congressional District, received “excessive contributions” totaling $75,100 when he first captured the north Mississippi House seat in 2015.

The Federal Election Commission found that Kelly, a Republican and former district attorney from Tupelo:

• Received campaign contributions from four individuals totaling $25,200 that exceeded the limit of $2,700 that a person can donate during an election cycle.

• Received a loan of $50,000 — $49,900 of which exceeded the campaign limits because they were guaranteed by an individual other than the candidate, thus, they were considered contributions.

The issues, according to the FEC audit, were resolved during the investigation with the loan being repaid and contributions returned.

The commission rejected a finding by the staff that the $50,000 loan be considered a prohibited contribution, which is considered a more serious charge.

The issues arose during a field audit of the 2015 special election where Kelly was one of 13 candidates vying to replace Alan Nunnelee, a Tupelo Republican who died in office earlier that year.

This election cycle Kelly faces Democrat Randy Mack Wadkins, originally of Iuka, who is a chemistry instructor at the University of Mississippi, and Reform Party candidate Tracella Lou O’Hara in the November general election.

The 1st District includes the population centers of DeSoto and Lee counties as well at the University of Mississippi in Lafayette County.


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Bobby Harrison, Mississippi Today’s senior capitol reporter, covers politics, government and the Mississippi State Legislature. He also writes a weekly news analysis which is co-published in newspapers statewide. A native of Laurel, Bobby joined our team June 2018 after working for the North Mississippi Daily Journal in Tupelo since 1984. He is president of the Mississippi Capitol Press Corps Association and works with the Mississippi State University Stennis Institute to organize press luncheons. Bobby has a bachelor's in American Studies from the University of Southern Mississippi and has received multiple awards from the Mississippi Press Association, including the Bill Minor Best Investigative/In-depth Reporting and Best Commentary Column.