Recall raises campaign finance questions

The Grant County Courthouse in Canyon City.

A campaign finance complaint has been filed against the Committee to Recall Boyd Britton, while another group campaigning to keep the county commissioner in office recently learned it was required to register as a political action committee.

The complaint, filed by Kimberly resident James O. Kelly with the Oregon Secretary of State Aug. 5, accuses the committee of failing to report any campaign finance activity.

An account summary obtained from Oregon Elections System for Tracking and Reporting (ORESTAR) confirms that the Committee to Recall Boyd Britton had not filed any contributions or expenditures as of Monday.

Julie Carr, the treasurer for the c, could not be reached for comment.

Kelly claims the committee established March 20 did not report contributions and expenses related to the printing of 72 recall signature pages or file a Certificate of Limited Contributions and Expenditures.

Kelly claims the signature-gathering committee has also been active in supporting the recall and “is required to declare its intent to function as a political committee dedicated to supporting the recall.”

The committee was not registered as a political action committee for the recall election as of Monday, according to information obtained from ORESTAR.

Kelly noted the group has not reported any financial information after gathering the signatures.

“At the very least there should have been reporting of: printing and postage for the distribution of an estimated 4,000 mailers in support of the recall that appeared in mailboxes countywide on or around July 28, 2016,” Kelly stated in the complaint.

Secretary of State Communications Director Molly Woon said the department will be contacting both Kelly and the committee to further investigate the complaint. Woon said the committee could possibly face fines depending on the outcome of the investigation.

“At the Secretary of State’s office, we believe transparency is an advantage,” Woon said.

On the other side of the political battle, Vote No on Boyd Britton Recall, which is registered as a political action committee for the recall, has reported $10,743 in contributions, including $250 from Kelly, and $5,856 in expenditures.

Another group that voiced support for Britton, however, did not realize until last week that doing so with collective funding was required to be reported.

Grant County Positive Action Treasurer Judy Schuette said the organization recently learned it was legally required to register as a political action committee for the recall election, which it did Aug. 2. She said the group, which is not affiliated with a political party, never intended to become a political action committee, but when members pooled their funds to purchase advertising against the recall, the group become legally classified as one.

“As soon as we understood that we technically were a political action committee, we were the ones who contacted the Secretary of State’s office and said, ‘What do we do? How do we fix this?’” she said. “We didn’t know that we were going to have to do all this. Evidently, if more than one person takes in a donation to support a campaign or person, and since we had our members donate to help pay for the ad, it opened up this other door that we didn’t know we’d have to be going through.”

Schuette said the group has seven days to report a contribution, and she would be reporting contributions and expenditures to the Secretary of State Tuesday, seven days after registering as a committee.

Recommended for you

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.