Starke, Pulaski Election Boards Plan Hearings, Fines for Late Campaign Finance Reports

Candidates in next month’s primary who were late in turning in their financial reports can expect hearings before the election board and possible fines.

During Tuesday’s Pulaski County Election Board meeting, Clerk Christi Hoffa said that nine candidates turned in their pre-primary campaign finance reports after last Friday’s noon deadline. “We have to have a hearing,” she explained. “They are all given an opportunity to come to the hearing, state their case, why they were late, whatever it may be. We then have to assess the fine, which is state-set at $50 per calendar day, which includes the weekends, or we can vote to reduce or waive the fee only by unanimous decision.”

The Pulaski County Election Board plans to hold hearings later in May, after Election Day.

In Starke County, six late finance reports had been received by the clerk’s office, as of Wednesday’s election board meeting. But Clerk Vicki Cooley wasn’t sure if there were others that still hadn’t been turned in. Before the Starke County Election Board can start assessing fines, though, it has to come up with a place to put that money. “If you did decide on a fine for a person, if has to, more or less, have it approved through the commissioners,” Cooley said, “and be a line item because we can’t accept money that there’s no place for it to go to, basically.”

The Starke County Election Board voted to prepare a resolution calling for the account to be created. It will be up for approval at the election board’s next meeting.

Going forward, Pulaski County Election Board Chair Jon Frain urges candidates to obey the deadlines in the future. “If I was to be quoted on the radio at this point, I would say for all candidates to please turn in their campaign finance reports in a timely manner for the General Election, please, the pre-election campaign, all reports in a timely fashion, please,” Frain said.

Candidates in this year’s General Election will have until Friday, October 19 at noon to file their pre-election campaign finance reports.