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Candidates' financial reports could face more scrutiny soon

Election Board considering 20-point annual audits

Wednesday, August 28, 2013 - 7:23 am

Candidates for political office in Allen County could soon find it wise to use more care when filling out their campaign-finance reports.

The county Election Board Wednesday was expected to consider a proposal to conduct annual audits of the reports, which detail how candidates raise and spend money. Until now, the board has generally imposed fines only when the reports are filed after the deadline. But Director of Elections Beth Dlug said about 20 additional compliance items could also face scrutiny as soon as next year.

If the board approves, election officials will also begin to verify that reports include such things as the correct name of the candidate, address, period of time covered by the report and cash on hand. The audit will also try to verify that itemized contributions match the totals listed in the summary.

Some reports have also been audited when complaints have been filed, but the new policy would subject all reports to scrutiny regardless of whether a specific complaint has been lodged.

“It's just a better, pretty specific policy,” Dlug said.

For reports filed late, the board has usually imposed fines of $25 per day for candidates not elected and $50 per day for officeholders, up to $1,000. Dlug said he fines for the less-serious defects that would be included in the audit could be $10 per day to a maximum of $100. Candidates would be informed of the audit requirements and possible fines in advance, she added.

Also Wednesday, the board is expected to review the use of new poling places in 2014. As many as half the current locations could be changed to improve access and convenience, Dlug said.