HOUSTON – Sri Preston Kulkarni, a Democrat making a second bid for a House seat, reported only earning $6,000 in income for the past two years – money made by consulting for Mires Ran Clark & Associates.
Kulkarni’s last fulltime job was for the U.S. State Department, a posting he left to run for Texas’ 22nd Congressional District in the 2018 election.
The former diplomat lost to Republican Pete Olson, but only by 5 percentage points, with both candidates raising $1.5M in contributions.
In 2018, Kulkarni received around $4,400 in donations from Amir Mireskandari, the CEO of Mires Ran Clark & Associates.
Mireskandari recently made headlines when Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg canceled a contract with him after accusations surfaced that he defrauded a private Houston poker club.
According to Kulkarni’s 2019 financial disclosure report, the only income he’s made for the last two years is $6,000 for consulting work – work performed for Mires Ran Clark & Associates.
The report additionally shows Kulkarni incurred between $10,000 and $15,000 in credit card debt in June.
He also reported a graduate student loan debt of $50,001 - $100,000. The date given for the incurred debt is September 2016 and was not reported on Kulkarni’s 2018 financial disclosure report.
A spokesperson for Kulkarni's campaign issued the following statement: "Sri Preston Kulkarni resigned from as Foreign Service Officer in 2017 to run for this seat because he believes that we need more leaders in Washington who reflect the communities that they serve. Sri understands the struggles of working people firsthand, dropping out of college to support an ailing parent, and is relying on savings while he runs this campaign."
Before Olson announced his retirement on July 25, Kulkarni trailed him in funding, with a $220,000 gap between them, according to Open Secrets.
Olson was first elected to Congress in 2008.
Not unlike his previous bid, Kulkarni has received financial support from some notable attorneys and even an intern with the Harris County District Attorney’s Office.
Scott Krist, a Houston trial lawyer, gave Kulkarni $5,600 on June 19, according to the Federal Election Commission.
Krist and his firm also supported Kulkarni in his last attempt, donating a total of $10,800, according to Open Secrets.
Donald Bankston, a criminal defense attorney out of Fort Bend County, has made numerous contributions to Kulkarni over the past year, giving a total of $2,700.
Annie Beck, an intern at the Harris County District Attorney’s Office, donated $2,700 last August.
While FEC records show Kulkarni has received numerous other donations from Houston-area attorneys, the bulk of his contributions have come from ActBlue.
ActBlue, a nonprofit that enables Democrats to raise money via the Internet, has donated more than $315,000 to Kulkarni’s campaign so far.