Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Political Notebook Covers Kelty's Missing Campaign Finance Form

Today's Political Notebook section of the JG briefly discusses my letter to the election board regarding Matt Kelty's campaign finance violation:
The Allen County Election Board might meet again to talk about the campaign finances of Republican mayoral nominee Matt Kelty.

The board is investigating a complaint that Kelty failed to properly disclose a $1,000 donation before the primary election. Jeff Pruitt, an author of a local left-leaning blog, asked the board Monday to investigate Kelty for not reporting a $1,000 donation given by Dan Turkette, the author of a local right-leaning blog.

Kelty’s most recent campaign filing shows he received $1,000 from Turkette on May 3. State law requires candidates to report contributions $1,000 or larger received after the pre-primary deadline of April 13 and two days before the election of May 8. Kelty did report several other large donations before the primary. The reports are due within 48 hours of a candidate receiving it.

Kelty on Tuesday filed the proper form listing Turkette’s May contribution, although he dated it Oct. 4.

Andy Downs, Democratic election board member, said the matter will be investigated and could result in a fine of up to $100. The board previously agreed to more strictly enforce deadlines.

Readers could interpret this complaint as some blog-war between myself and Dan Turkette. That could not be further from the truth. While we don't agree on some issues we are respectful of one another and this complaint had nothing to do with Dan - it just so happened his contribution was the one that wasn't reported.

Let me just say that the election board should investigate the matter and not simply declare this a "late filing". This was not late - it was never filed at all. It would have never been filed had I not made this public. Let me try and break away from the current Kelty campaign finance issues and discuss the election board in general.

This board does a great disservice to all candidates when it refuses to adhere to state campaign finance laws. The board never fines candidates and thus nobody is ever held accountable. So when a major issue/complaint does come forward there is precedent for ignoring it and calling it business as usual. If you ignore the minor violations but try to clamp down on the major ones, someone will always claim they are the victim of a partisan witch hunt. My advice to the election board would be to enforce all laws and draft a set of written procedures that tell candidates when they will be fined and what that fine will be.


J Q Taxpayer said...

The "witch hunt" will always be raised but your point is very valid.

Heck, how about trying to track money people donate right to the person, then donate more via the local party, then even more through the state party, and then they use PACs. Heck, I trust a person more who just sends in the check in his name then the ones who slide behind all the walls they can find.

Again, limit the funds a person/company can make, in total, to a given person. Not make it "how many ways can I hide!"

Phil Marx said...


I disagree with your asessment that this was missing information, rather than late information. The donation was reported on the form that you received from ACEB. That information came directly from the Kelty campaign. If it was not in that report, you probably never would have known about it yourself.

Although without your attention we probably never would have realized this information was being given to us late, the fact that Dan Turkette gave Kelty $1000 was there for everyone to see. You didn't point out missing information, just that that information was released late.