Former candidates get second warning on fines
June 13, 2007
A total of 20 candidates will soon receive a second notice that they owe the Secretary of State’s office fines for not filing, or filing late, their contribution and expense reports.
Candidates are told when they file for office that they are legally required to file three separate contribution and expense reports, even if they pull out of the race the next day.
Secretary of State Ross Miller announced in May he was taking a hard line on the requirement, sending notices to 118 candidates from the 2006 election cycle who didn’t file or filed late. Since those letters went out, 38 of those candidates have either paid fines up to $525 or received a waiver for a variety of reasons, including financial hardship and hospitalization. Many of those who paid owed only one-day’s fine – $25.
Another 22 on the list have requested a waiver, which Elections Deputy Matt Griffin said can be granted by Miller for a variety of reasons.
A spokesman said the letters going out this week are addressed to those who have totally ignored the first letter, dated May 10. Many of them owe the maximum fine of $5,000 for each of the three reports. Another batch of nearly 40 letters will follow, urging the remaining candidates on the list to take care of the issue.
Many of those are members of the Independent American Party. Janine Hansen of IAP said most of those candidates did file their reports, but replaced the oath requiring they report accurately under penalty of perjury with what she described as a religious affirmation.
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Griffin said they can’t change the legal form of the report.
“The law specifies they are supposed to sign the affidavit,” he said. “There is no discretion.”
IAP members charged in May that Miller is unconstitutionally harassing and attempting to intimidate them.
Miller has said he intends to enforce the law and will initiate proceedings in district court if those on the list don’t respond and take care of the problem.
• Contact reporter Geoff Dornan at email@example.com or 687-8750.