Monday, February 20, 2006

Campaign finance violations in Brownstown Township

I'd vote against the recall based on this alone if I lived there. The Detroit News reports:

Who is paying for recall election?

Brownstown Twp. group won't disclose contributors to campaign to remove two officials from office.

Dorothy Bourdet / The Detroit News

BROWNSTOWN TOWNSHIP -- If voters want to know who's spending money to recall Treasurer Diane Philpot and Trustee Ed Neal, they may have to wait until after they've cast their vote.

Brownstown Families for Common Sense has spent at least $43,000 on its campaign and, although the organization is required by law to report who contributed money before the Feb. 28 election, organizers say they won't.

"The people who are contributing to us, they don't want any kind of backlash until this vote is over. Afterwards, yeah, it's all going to come out," said Bill Kaiser, organizer of the recall group. "We've made a conscious decision just to pay the fine that we're probably going to get levied against us."

When the group filed with the county in August to become a political action committee, it signed a reporting waiver pledging it would not spend or collect more than $1,000. If it did, it was required to file those contributions and expenditures with the county. The group faces a maximum $1,000 penalty for late filing.

$1000 is a good fine for small PAC's, but $43,000 is not a small PAC, especially on the township level. To compare, out taxpayers group raised $1700 in the millage election including in-kinds. Unlike the group in Brownstown, we reported ours before the election.

They should get fined for 1/2 of what they raised. That'll hurt more than the $1000 fine which they probably budgeted for.

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