Wednesday, September 29, 2004
Final campaign spending reports turned in by Mark Marchus and Bea Westwater, county commissioner candidates who lost in the primary elections, show both spent between $400 and $500 and received nonmonetary contributions.
Marchus ran in the District 2 Republican race, and Westwater ran in the District 1 Republican race during the August primaries.
Marchus' final report was submitted by the Sept. 9 deadline. During the course of his campaign, he received $400 in monetary contributions and $148 in nonmonetary contributions.
He reported that he spent all $400 of his contributions, with funds going toward purchasing a voter registration report, printing 50 signs and publishing one newspaper advertisement. The nonmonetary contributions were mostly for a candidate mailing.
Westwater's records show she spent $500 of her own funds and had no monetary contributions except from herself. She spent her money on thank-you letter supplies, signs, a staple gun and a newspaper advertisement.
She also reported $700 in nonmonetary contributions: Christopher Sanders supplied material for printing a mailing, worth about $250, and 4-S Development supplied $450 worth of signs.
Westwater's final report was submitted on the Sept. 9 deadline, but was returned for further clarification. After a second submittal and then meetings with the County Clerk's Office, she was given until Wednesday before a $50-a-day late fee would apply.
She met that deadline, but Routt County Clerk Kay Weinland said problems with her submittals highlight a system in which enforcing rules can be cumbersome.
For instance, Westwater did not submit anything in for the first reporting period but orally told the county she had not spent anything. According to a report she submitted Aug. 9, she had spent about $33 in personal funds during that period.
For the second period, July 16 to Aug. 1, she reported that she spent $100 in personal funds for signs. For the final period, Westwater initially turned in her campaign funding records on the wrong forms, Weinland said.
Before charging $50-a-day late fees, Weinland must submit certified letters and discuss problems with the candidates, she said. Keeping up on such dates and requirements ought to be the candidates' responsibility, she said.
"When they sign that candidate affidavit, they're swearing that they have read the campaign finance laws and are going to comply," Weinland said. "It's part of their responsibility as a candidate to follow through."
Weinland also said she has received calls from people who challenged Marchus' reporting, but that it is not her job to verify the reports.
"I'm not a policeman on this," Weinland said.
Anyone who thinks a candidate has not accurately reported campaign contributions or spending can file a complaint with the secretary of state, who can then assign an administrative judge to the matter, Weinland said.
-- To reach Susan Cunningham, call 871-4203 or e-mail email@example.com