Lake County to fine candidates who haven’t filed campaign finance reports
By Carrie Napoleon Post-Tribune correspondent March 23, 2013 11:48PM
Updated: April 25, 2013 6:20AM
Collection letters will be going out next month to more than 60 candidates and political action committees with past-due fines owed to the election board for failing to file their campaign finance reports on time.
New fines for 2012 were waived for candidates and committees who took the time to write a letter or appear before the election board Tuesday to explain why their campaign finance reports were late.
James Weiser, attorney for the Board of Elections and Voters Registration, said he will prepare the letters for all those on the list who owe fines from previous years for not filing their campaign finance reports on time.
Michelle Fajman, director of the Lake County Board of Elections and Voters Registration, said letters with the amount owed and the intent to collect will be sent to everyone on the list who still has a balance with the election board.
“For those who did not present a letter or appear in person our recommendation is we follow the original schedule with the projected fines,” Fajman said.
Close to $25,000 in outstanding fines are owned to the county, though some of the larger fines stem from a time when the election board would levy fines of $1,000 in an effort “get the attention” of the violator and to force compliance with the campaign finance filing requirements..
Fines have since been lowered by the panel to $25 for a first offense because the goal is more of an issue of compliance than penalization.
Fajman last month raised the issue of outstanding fines in an effort to clear up the office’s books and bring the ledger current. Some fines date back almost 10 years.
Officials also took steps to accept settlement agreements with several committees that have since disbanded and no longer have cash balances so they could be removed from the roster.