By Steve Pickering
The Peg Dunmire campaign for Congress, running under the TEA Party ticket in District 8, has received two “Notice of Failure to File” letters from the Federal Election Commission (FEC) for failing to file required financial reports. The TEA Party political party is not affiliated with the various tea party organizations in Florida.
The first notice, dated Thursday, October 22nd, covers the third quarter filing period from July 1st through September 30th. The report’s filing deadline was October 15th. The letter requires the campaign to file the report within four business days of receipt, which should be Thursday, October 28th.
The second notice, also dated Thursday, October 22nd, covers the pre-election period of October 1st through October 13th. The report’s filing deadline was October 21st. The letter requires the campaign to file the report within four business days of receipt, which, again, should be Thursday, October 28th.
The Dunmire campaign also received a letter from the FEC on July 21st, citing a failure to file the second quarter report due on July 15th. The report was required to have been submitted electronically, but the Dunmire campaign filed it manually. The second quarter report is available on the FEC web site as a “Miscellaneous Report to the FEC,” posted on July 21st.
Campaign finance totals for the Dunmire campaign are only available on the FEC web site through March 31, 2010, although totals through June 30th can be calculated manually using the data in the “Miscellaneous Report.” Currently, other campaigns in the same race have filed the third quarter and pre-election reports, and those reports are available for viewing on the FEC web site.
Dunmire’s campaign is still listed as Republican on the FEC web site, obviously a legacy from the start of the campaign, which was conducted under the Republican ticket. The campaign voluntarily changed to the TEA Party ticket in April 2010. An amendment to the campaign’s Statement of Organization was filed on April 15th to reflect the change in party, but was apparently not updated on the FEC web site. The update may not have occurred properly because the campaign did not file the amendment electronically. While this may have initially been an FEC error, it is the responsibility of the campaign to ensure the correct party is listed. Over six months have passed since the campaign changed parties.
The FEC requires quarterly financial reports from each federal candidate for several reasons. One of the most important functions of quarterly financial reports is to provide campaign finance transparency for the public, including other campaigns. This ensures that campaigns are properly following laws established by Congress, as well as regulations and procedures established by the FEC.
While Peg Dunmire claims she is the “candidate who believes in the people,” she has established a pattern of filing late or filing improperly formatted reports. Only she knows the reasons for her filing problems, but the effect has been to deny access to her campaign’s financial records from the people she claims to serve.
Early voting will end on Saturday, and many absentee ballots have already been filed without access to Peg Dunmire’s complete campaign financial records. Should we expect better from a candidate who wishes to be a representative of the people in Congress?
Peg Dunmire is conducting a political campaign for public office and she owes voters a full report of her campaign’s finances on the same time schedule, and in the same format, as other campaigns. A delay in financial reporting at this point in the election cycle, five days before election day, raises doubts about her campaigns transparency and accountability.
Failing to produce accurate reports on a timely basis and in the proper format is unfair to voters and to candidates who are running their campaigns according to the rules. Unfortunately, any fines or legal action from the FEC will come too late to affect voters’ perception of Peg Dunmire. She has created a situation that is unfair to voters and to other candidates.
All FEC documents mentioned in this article are available on the FEC web site, http://FEC.gov, in the “Campaign Finance Reports and Data” section. All quarterly financial reports and other public communications can be viewed directly, downloaded, or printed. No password is required.
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