Late campaign reports listed
November 28, 2002
Despite numerous efforts to remind them of the requirement, 54 of the 1,135 candidates who ran for public office this year failed to file their second campaign contributions and expenses report.
Elections Deputy Susan Bilyeu said that is down from the 82 people who didn’t make the filing date for the first of the three required reports — but it’s still too many.
Twenty candidates, including Assemblyman Wendell Williams, D-North Las Vegas, did not file at all. Williams also failed to file the first report, after missing deadlines two years ago.
Another 14 missed the Oct. 29 deadline for the second report, but have since filed, although they haven’t yet paid their fines.
The remaining 20 are members of the Independent American Party who, although they acknowledged the reporting requirements when they filed for office, say they can’t be required to comply because it violates their Fifth Amendment right.
Secretary of State Dean Heller said he will turn over the files of all those who were late and haven’t paid their fines, as well as those who didn’t file one or more of the required reports, to the Attorney General’s Office for prosecution.
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“I take it as an affront to the voters,” he said.
He said his office has sent documentation on those who were late or refused to file to the attorney general in the past — 250 candidates from the election cycle two years ago. Some of those cases still have not been resolved.
“I think the general public would like to see some action on this,” Heller said. “It sends the wrong message.”
Since the third report isn’t due until January, that issue will be one of the first priorities of Brian Sandoval once he takes over from Frankie Sue Del Papa.
“With a new attorney general, it’ll be interesting to see his commitment to campaign disclosure,” said Heller.
He said he is confident, since Sandoval helped him with campaign reform issues when he was in the Nevada Assembly.
Nevada law requires all candidates from constitutional officers, such as the governor to members of general improvement district boards, to report all contributions of more than $100 they receive and how they spent the money. The reports are required in August before the primary, October before the general election and January following the election.
Bilyeu said all candidates are informed of the requirement when they file for office and sign statements acknowledging they are aware of it, and that each received a reminder card this year a week or so before the deadline for each report.
The fine for not filing each of the three reports on time is $25 per day the first week, $50 per day the second and $100 each day after that up to $5,000 for each report.
A candidate who ignores all three reports could face up to $15,000 in fines. Most of those who filed late missed the deadline by just a day or two.
The Independent American Party candidates still are contesting the requirements.
But many candidates have failed to file at all, including Williams, former Assemblyman Ken Haller who ran for Reno mayor this year and former Assembly and Reno council candidate Kendall Stagg.
Bilyeu said their penalties as of Wednesday were $1,975 and increasing at the rate of $100 each day.