Thursday, July 15, 2010

Campaign Finance Statements almost due - heads up

It's almost campaign finance season. The due date for candidates in the August Primary to turn in the reports is July 23rd. This is for ALL candidates appearing on the ballot. That includes those unopposed in the primary. That includes those unopposed in the general election. That includes local as well as state level candidates.

I've on several occasions why one needs a good treasurer when running a campaign. Today we have another example in the papers close to home. This was an honest mistake, and the fines were waved by county. However, it still brings bad press, and former leftist AP reporter and County Dems chair Judy Daubenmier is going to make sure of it. From the Argus:

he Livingston County Democrats said incumbent Republican County Commissioner Carol Griffith should have been fined "thousands" of dollars for not filing campaign-spending reports for the 2008 election cycle.

Griffith — who ran unchallenged that year and said this week the document error was an honest mistake — didn't seek waivers to filing the documents, which are normally granted for candidates who spend less than $1,000, as Griffith did, said County Clerk Margaret Dunleavy.

County Democratic Party Chairwoman Judy Daubenmier issued a press release Tuesday claiming Griffith received special treatment because Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land is also a Republican.

Uhhh, Judy, did you have that illegal 50/50 fundraiser during the same period as Carol's campaign? You know what they say about people in glass houses. If you want to play gotcha politics on campaign finance issues with my county, you better have a clean house, because we will find your campaign finance skeletons.

However, all of us need to take this as a learning experience. Carol admits her mistakes.

Griffith said she didn't exceed the $1,000 spending mark in 2008 and didn't need to because she was running unopposed for Board of Commissioners District 7, which covers all of the city of Brighton and part of Genoa Township.
She learned of the document error by the county Democrats, and said she has since corrected what she called an "honest mistake."

"It has been corrected. I am in compliance," Griffith said.

"I am moving on from this," she added.

I agree that it was an honest mistake, and one that is easy to make. Carol was a first time candidate.  I suspect Carol thought she was originally going to run a competitive campaign, and was surprised to find at the 2008 filing deadline that she was unopposed both in the primary and general elections. She probably either A, forgot to amend her S&O to check the waiver wire or B, thought she didn't have to file if she didn't spend money or didn't have an opponent. It doesn't matter in the eyes of the campaign finance laws. They look at things differently.

She was lucky. This could have been another Edmund Senkowski if it wasn't caught when it was. That would be bad news, embarrassing for all of us, and cost her a lot of money. She still made the papers, and that's something that should be avoided if possible for things like this.

We all need to take this as a learning experience. One thing that our local party needs to do, especially in 2010 for the township offices, is to teach our candidates what they need to know about campaign finance procedures. It is extremely easy to screw up. State rep candidates do that all the time. I have a side business that handles these matters so there are no screw ups and candidates have less worries. If you don't want to use my business, then make sure whoever handles these matters is good. Else, you run a higher risk of bad press, fines, and having your campaign put on defense.

July 23rd, folks. Remember that date.

1 comment:

Communications guru said...

Seriously? An honest mistake? Bullshit. Now, if you want to make the claim she’s not very smart, I’ll buy that. She missed five reports. An honest mistake? She missed report before the August 2008 primary, a report after the August 2008 primary, a report before the November 2008 general election, a report after the 2008 general election, and an annual report for 2009.

Even if that’s the case, there’s no excuse for gun decking the report for her. If she was a Democrat, like Scott Lucas, George Cushingberry or LaMar Lemmons she doesn’t get off Scott free.

And no, Judy didn’t have an illegal campaign fundraiser.