Two city commissioners have been fined by the city’s Board of Ethics for accepting larger-than-allowed campaign contributions. A political action committee tied to the Laborer’s Union has also been fined. Also, a new City Council member has been spared a fine for accepting campaign contributions above the legal limit.
Commissioner Stephanie Singer has been fined $5,000. Commissioner Anthony Clark has been fined $1,000. Laborer’s District Council PAC was fined $1,500. The city’s ethics board waived fines for Councilman Bobby Henon because of his cooperation with their investigation.
Settlements in each case reveal the minute detail required by the city’s campaign finance law.
The city’s campaign finance law sets the limits on how much a candidate can accept — individual donations are limited to $2,600, and donations from political organizations are capped at $10,600.
According to a recently released report from the Ethics Board, Singer’s campaign committee, the Friends of Stephanie Singer, accepted $2,100 more than legally allowed from Daniel Singer, $2,600 more than allowed from David Singer, $5,199 from Liz Kaplan, and $50 from Gregory Harvey.
Campaign officials discovered the illegal contributions during an audit in September, noted the board’s report — past the June 16 date required by law.
In Daniel Singer’s case, he made a $2,600 donation that was incorrectly recorded as $500. He then made an additional $2,100 donation at the campaign’s request.
David Singer made a contribution of $5,200 with a check from a joint account believing it would be attributed to himself and his wife, Diana Kapp. However, because she failed to sign the check along with her husband, the contribution had to be recorded as coming from him exclusively.
Kaplan made a $2,600 donation, then submitted two more checks: one for $2,600 and one for 2,599 in her husband’s and son’s names, but the funds came from her account, and so were illegal.
Harvey gave two donations of $1,000 and then paid $50 to attend one of Singer’s events. Later he was asked to give another $600, which he did, thereby exceeding the legal limit.
Singer’s campaign organization must pay the fines by July 31.
Clark’s campaign committee — the Committee to Elect Anthony Clark — took $12,000 from a political action committee called Genesis IV.
According to the ethics board’s report, Clark’s campaign refunded the money, but failed to report the payment or the refund in its post-election paperwork.
Because of the refund, a portion of the fine against Clark’s campaign was waived. However, it must pay fines totaling $1,000 by July 31.
Henon accepted $500 more than the legal limit of $10,100 from Steamfitters Local 420 PAC and $1,000 more than permitted from the Bricklayers PAC.
According to Ethics Board findings, Henon discovered the excess contributions before election, reported them and returned the money to both groups. So, the Ethics Board waived the fine.
The Laborer’s Union was cited for giving too much to Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell and council candidate Bill Rubin. The union’s political action committee gave Blackwell’s campaign $1,900 over the limit and $1,000 more than was legal to Rubin.
Blackwell’s campaign refunded the excess, but not until January 2012, when the union requested its overpayment from Rubin’s campaign as well.
So, it was fined.
Because of the PAC’s cooperation, fines were reduced from $1,000 for each incident to $750 per incident, which must be paid within two weeks.