The Democratic Party of Michigan has agreed to pay the Federal Election Commission an unusually steep fine following a years-long probe that found the political organization grossly under-reporting cash contributions from past bingo fundraisers. The FEC maintains that the state party failed to report $4.4 million in campaign funds and violated an assortment of campaign finance laws. The party agreed to pay a whopping $500,000 fine, one of the largest penalties levied in decades.

FEC: record keeping inept, inaccurate and incomplete

Democrats failed to properly account for roughly 12,500 contributions from game-of-chance money-raising events for campaign cash.

The gaming operations were in place for about 14 years. According to a conciliation agreement with the government, the controversial political fundraisers were shuttered three years ago, however a settlement was just reached. Government records show the half-million dollar fine to be among the largest of such penalties agreed upon since 1980.

FEC began investigation in 2014

FEC agents first became interested in the bingo parties during 2014, according to former Michigan Democratic Party Chairman Lon Johnson -- who ordered an internal investigation. Johnson subsequently told the Detroit News that the bingo operation was not in compliance and claims that it was shut down immediately, and that what was left of the falsely reported campaign funds was turned over to the government.

Former MDP head tainted by scandal

However, Mark Brewer, who ran the party from 1995 to 2013, submitted a 13-page statement on Friday calling Johnson’s internal probe “shoddy," saying it was “hardly more than an inquisition full of fiction.” Brewer says he was “denied due process and was defamed” during the investigation. Michigan is no longer a true blue state and political pundits say that the state Democratic Party’s latest election debacle could translate into lost votes.

MDP kept anonymous cash, reported falsely

The high-end penalty came after FEC investigators found that the party had kept anonymous cash contributions, filed false reports of refunds and and lied about contributions and disbursements. Investigators added that party administrators maintained inaccurate records of incoming funds and disbursements.

Current party chairman Brandon Dillon told investigators conducting the federal probe that he did not have any knowledge of the bingo fundraisers because they occurred before his term. The scandal could signal trouble for Michigan Democrats in a state where Trump beat Clinton by a point, or more than 10,000 votes.