Thursday, May 24, 2007

Matt Kelty Clearly Violated Campaign Finance Laws

After my last post about Fort Wayne GOP mayoral nominee Matt Kelty's possible violation of campaign finance laws, I decided to check the Indiana Code for the relevant campaign finance statutes to decide for myself whether or not the Kelty campaign was in violation. After reading the relevant statutes in the Campaign Finance Manual I don't believe there can be any doubt that he violated the law. Let's start with the definition of a contribution:
IC 3-5-2-15. Contribution. (a) “Contribution” means a donation (whether characterized as an advance, a deposit, a gift, a loan, a subscription, or a contract or promise to make a donation) of property (as defined in IC 35-41-1) that satisfies both of the following:
(1) The donation is made for the purpose of influencing any of the following:

(A) The nomination or election to office of a candidate.

(B) The election of delegates to a state constitutional convention.

(C) The outcome of a public question.


(2) The donation is accepted by any of the following:

(A) A candidate.

(B) A candidate’s committee.

(C) A regular party committee.

(D) A political action committee.

(E) A legislative caucus committee.


This statute is very straight forward and I simply see no way that Matt Kelty could claim that this wasn't a "contribution". Now the following statute shows that this contribution MUST be reported by in the campaign committee’s treasurer reports:
IC 3-9-5-14. Committee’s treasurer reports
(b) The report of each committee’s treasurer must disclose the following:

3) The following information regarding each person who has made one (1) or more contributions within the year, in an aggregate amount that exceeds the threshold contribution amount in actual value to or for the committee, including the purchase of tickets for events such as dinners, luncheons, rallies, and similar fundraising events:

(A) The full name of the person.

(B) The full mailing address of the person making the contribution.

(C) The person’s occupation, if the person is an individual who has made contributions to the committee of at least one thousand dollars ($1,000) during the calendar year.

(D) The date and amount of each contribution.


There is no debate that Kelty didn't include that information for the contribution in question into his report. If anyone comes up with an alternate reading of the statute then by all means let me know but I think the Election Board will rule against Kelty and rightfully so. I would expect that he'll receive the maximum civil penalty from the board but I'm not sure this will move into the criminal courts...

3 comments:

Charlotte A. Weybright said...

Jeff:

And to expand on your definitions, the criminal code section 35-41-1 referred to defines property as "anything of value."

The term includes:

(1) A gain or advantage or anything that might reasonably be regarded as such by the beneficiary;

(2) Real property, personal property, money, labor, and services;

(3) Intangibles;

(4) Commercial instruments;

(5) Written instruments concerning labor, services, or property;

(6) Written instruments otherwise of value to the owner, such as a public record, deed, will, credit card, or letter of credit;

(7) A signature to a written instrument;

(8) Extension of credit;

(9) Trade secrets;

(10) Contract rights, choses-in-action, and other interests in or claims to wealth;

(11) Electricity, gas, oil, and water;

(12) Captured or domestic animals, birds, and fish;

(13) Food and drink; and

(14) Human remains.

I.C. 3-5-2-15 relies on such a broad definition to try to control contributions to a candidate's campaign coffers. While many will say "who cares" where the money came from as long as it is paid back, the point of campaign finance laws is to make the playing field transparent - no hidden agendas.

Jeff Pruitt said...

Exactly and this is the SECOND TIME Matt Kelty has tried to hide a Fred Rost contribution.

I really can't figure out why that is...

ROACH said...

KELTY-GATE!
http://x-wire.blogspot.com