Friday, December 21, 2007

Election Board meeting today

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.

Mike Sylvester

2 comments:

J Q Taxpayer said...

I guess the only problem I have is the group agreed they had no "policy rule" on filing late. That it was subject to some unwritten pie in the sky belief. They then framed the rule into, what I consider a very fair, standard.

Then they turned around and nail Kelty on the new rule. I cry fowl!

I have been involved in a number of groups that things where run by rules. When someone found a way around a rule we would close the loophole ASAP. However, not once did we go after the person breaking the rule under the new rule.

As a side note, that considering Sigler's view of the election board with regards to Kelty's charges is how much do they really have? He seemed to say they are a non-factor and if so can Kelty now appeal their decission to the courts?

I have to ask this? Who in the same hill was running the accounting for Kelty? Did he have a clue about Indiana law or was a beginner?

Kevin said...

JQ-

Actually they DID NOT use the new rule on him.

They used a ruling that he filed late- as opposed to "failed to file".

Under the NEW rules that they clarified, if the exact same thing happens again, such a filing will be considered "late".