Monday, April 14, 2014

Corrupt Democratic Ex- Mayor of Charlotte Cannon Bringing Campaign Finance Reporting in N.C. to the Forefront, It's About TIME

A report out from Lake Wylie Pilot titled "Feds eye ex-mayor Cannon's campaign in Charlotte corruption probe" CLICKHERE has some interesting observations from local politicians and what has not been done from plenty of Board of Elections all over the State of North Carolina.

In the report was this

"An Observer review of Cannon’s campaign records since 1999 found reports with misleading, inaccurate and missing information that makes it difficult to tell where the former mayor got much of his money. State law requires that candidates disclose the name, address, occupation and employer of any donor who gives at least $50.

In about 100 cases since 2011, no job title was listed for donors to Cannon’s campaigns. In about 250 cases, no employer is listed.

In about 38 percent of cases since 2011, the information about Cannon’s donors didn’t include either job title or employer.

Then we have this later in the report

"The Mecklenburg County Board of Elections is responsible for auditing local races. Told of the Observer’s findings, board director Michael Dickerson acknowledged his office needs to improve its oversight of finance reports.
“We obviously have not scrutinized as closely as we should as far as employer and occupation information,” he said."

Obviously Director Michael Dickerson needs to understand campaign finance and what needs to be reported on the reports that come into your office that is state law under 163-278.11

§ 163-278.11.  Contents of treasurer's statement of receipts and expenditures.
(a)        Statements filed pursuant to provisions of this Article shall set forth the following:
(1)        Contributions. - Except as provided in subsection (a1) of this section, a list of all contributions received by or on behalf of a candidate, political committee, or referendum committee. The statement shall list the name and complete mailing address of each contributor, the amount contributed, the principal occupation of the contributor, and the date such contribution was received. The total sum of all contributions to date shall be plainly exhibited. Forms for required reports shall be prescribed by the Board. As used in this section, "principal occupation of the contributor" means the contributor's:
a.         Job title or profession; and
b.         Employer's name or employer's specific field of business activity.
Then this was written in report
In North Carolina, the state Board of Elections is charged with looking into complaints for all state and local campaigns. It has two employees assigned to do investigations.
The agency is supposed to conduct routine audits on as many as 10,000 annual finance reports for state races, but officials said there is a 10-year backlog due to short staffing.

“The state is overwhelmed,” Hall said. “They say they want to do reviews, but they don’t.”
State election officials have authority to levy fines on candidates who file late finance reports. They can force office-seekers to surrender improper donations. But there is no fine for failing to disclose donors’ jobs or employers.

Innocent mistakes?

The Mecklenburg elections board performs routine audits for local races to ensure candidates did not receive illegal donations, file late reports or fail to comply with other rules.
But information contained in Cannon’s filings calls into question how closely Mecklenburg reviewed the documents.

After large donations from William Bodenhamer Jr., an owner of Charlotte’s Yellow Cab, finance reports described his job title variously as “real estate,” “business owner” and “business man.” In one case, his employer was described as “property development.” In another case, it was blank
This is unacceptable for our state to not audit these records but rely on self policing of the obvious that these campaign treasurers know what needs to be done but fails to do so.
Triadwatch has been doing it's part in the past with plenty of instances where we like to self police these local candidates and their campaign finance reports for example:
 June 29, 2009 ex mayor of Greensboro was reported with a headline "Greensboro Mayor amends 2007 2008 campaign forms for second time " CLICKHERE
or on May 29, 2009 we have ex Guilford County Commissioner Paul Gibson on Triadwatch with a headline
"Guilford County Commissioner Paul Gibson with a Letter from N.C. Board of Elections on campaign amending " CLICKHERE
This from the Greensboro News and Record from 2009 thank goodness I copied it because they have lost all connection to past history on their web site
"Keith Brown started a movement that led to reinstatement of protest-petition rights for Greensboro citizens. Now he’s prompted a finding by the N.C. State Board of Elections that Action Greensboro made an improper donation of $5,000 to the George Simkins Memorial PAC for supporting bond proposals.
Brown, who writes the Triad Watch blog, says his research indicates many Guilford County politicians are lax in following campaign-finance reporting rules. He’s probably right, and those politicians warrant closer scrutiny. If they don’t comply with the law when they’re running for office, they won’t when they’re in office."

It is a shame that a huge corruption scandal brings this issue to the forefront but here in Guilford County we have been talking about this issue for awhile and we need closer scrutiny from the North Carolina State Board of Elections and put some fines into these reports if they do not comply with state law. Seems like Mecklenburg County has similar problems to what we see in Guilford County in regards to non compliance by local politicians on their reports

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