Fines assessed for late campaign finance filers in Lake County
By Carrie Napoleon Post-Tribune correspondent December 18, 2012 2:22PM
Updated: January 22, 2013 6:16AM
CROWN POINT — Community groups and PACs whose campaign finance reports for the November general election were filed late or not filed at all have have to pay fines.
The Lake County Board of Elections and Registration on Tuesday levied fines against 12 groups and political action committees that have not properly filed the reports required by law.
The highest fines were leveled against repeat offenders, some who still have not filed the reports. According to a list provided by the Election Board, The Miller Disannexation Committee has been late filing its campaign finance reports six times. The report for November is still not filed. A $300 fine was assessed.
Gary’s Democratic Precinct Organization has been late filing five times and has still not filed for the November election. A $250 fine was assessed. Two four-time offenders that have yet to file their reports, Gary’s Political/Unicratic Party and the East Chicago Professional Fire Fighters, were fined $200 each.
The Munster Democrats PAC and the Munster Democratic Precinct Organization, also four-time offenders who until Tuesday did not have the paperwork filed, had their $200 fines reduced after filing Tuesday prior to the board meeting and appearing in person to make the request.
Both groups were fined $10 each. The move riled board member Patrick Gabrione, a Republican, who said it makes no sense to have guidelines if board members are just going to alter the amount anyway.
“We’re changing the rules in the middle of the day,” he said.
Board chairman Kevin Smith disagreed. He said the guidelines were just that and officials have the authority to reduce or eliminate fines if they so choose.
Fines are assessed based on a guideline previously adopted by the board that takes into account several factors, including how late the document was filed.
Also fined for failing to report on time were:
Munster Republicans, who were three days late for the first time. The fine was set at $10.
The Griffith FOP Lodge 161 PAC and ICE PAC, both more than 30 days’ late for the first time. Each was fined $20.
Stop Corruption in Lake County was 10 days late for the first time. It was fined $20.
CTE Bielski, Robert, O’Donnell and Kundrich as well as Friends of Lake County Schools are both late for the second time. Neither has filed the report yet. Both were fined $200 each.