After reading a post over at Fort Wayne Left earlier today (<http://fortwayneindiana.blogspot.com/2007/12/election-board-hearing-coverage.html>) I decided to head over to the meeting. I was meeting with a new client near Downtown and that meeting ended at 2:35; so I was able to attend the Election Board Meeting.
15 people attended the meeting; over one third of the people were members of the press. Several local Republicans attended the meeting, as did several Kelty supporters, as did a couple of local Democrats.
The first issue discussed was a complaint filed by Jeff Pruitt over at Fort Wayne left concerning a $1000 contribution made to the Kelty campaign by Dan Turkette. To make a long story short the Kelty campaign should have promptly filed a CFA-11 and they did not.
The Election Board decided to clarify their interpretation of the difference between a "late filing" and a "failure to file." Basically they decided that if you file your report before the next campaign finance report is due then it is a "late filing." If you file the report after an intervening report is due then it is a "failure to file."
The Election Board clarified that Indiana code allows a fine to be set at $50 per day that a report is late up to a maximum of $1000. The Election Board then assessed a fine of $1000 against the Kelty Campaign since the CFA-11 was filed several months late.
The second item discussed was a disclaimer that was on the Kelty Campaign website about campaign contributions. To make a long story short the Election Board asked the Kelty campaign to remove this disclaimer and they removed it.
The Election Board then went on to clarify itemized and un-itemized contributions. If you contribute $100 (In aggregate) to a candidate then the candidate is to report your name etc. If you contribute less then $100 (In aggregate) then the contribution can be listed as an un-itemized contribution. So if you give a candidate $1 a day for 100 consecutive days then your contribution should be listed as an itemized contribution.
The Election Board then went on to clarify when a "disclaimer" is required on campaign material. They pointed out that there is a list in the Campaign Manual and that the disclaimer must go on yard signs, bumper stickers, etc. Apparently every election there is a complaint about someone with campaign materials that does not have a disclaimer on it. In the past the Election Board has contacted the candidate and the candidate has "fixed" the problem...
The Election Board decided to set a policy on this matter. Basically if a campaign does not use a "disclaimer" they will be warned once with a "cease-and-desist" letter. If there is a second (completely separate) violation of the rules then the Election Board will turn the matter over to the Prosecutor's Office.
The third item was a broad complaint filed that asked the Election Board to perform a general investigation of the finances of the Kelty campaign. The Election Board found this complaint to be too broad and decided to action was required.
I thought the Election Board did a good job a clarifying the laws and better yet of deciding in advance how future violations would be handled.