Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Hathorn Says Halter Broke Law 65 Times!

There is quite a battle going on in the Democratic race for Lt. Governor (refreshing change, eh?).

Former State Rep. Mike Hathorn has accused the former director of the Social Security Administration Bill Halter of illegally co-mingling funds to get around contribution limits. He also suggests that Halter transferred more money from his abortive Governor's race campaign than the law allows into his race for Lt. Governor.

Hathorn has said that he will file an ethics charge if 18 questions are not answered within 24 hours.

(click "Tuesday" below and scroll down for rest of story, if sent directly here just scroll down).

8 Comments:

Blogger Mark Moore (Moderator) said...

Hathorn's Questions to Bill Halter

Mr. Halter, your exploration and brief pursuit of the Democratic Nomination for Governor of Arkansas coupled with your current bid for Lt. Governor have created what is quite possibly the most convoluted campaign finance record in the history of Arkansas’s politics. To date for the 2006 election cycle, you have solicited and received contributions for seven (7) different campaigns/committees, and they are:
1.) Halter for Arkansas (Governor) Primary Exploratory Committee
2.) Halter for Arkansas (Governor) General Exploratory Committee
3.) Halter for Arkansas (Governor) Primary Election Campaign
4.) Halter for Arkansas (Governor) General Election Campaign
5.) Halter for Arkansas (Lt. Governor) Primary Election Campaign
6.) Halter for Arkansas (Lt. Governor) Primary Election Run-Off Campaign
7.) Halter for Arkansas (Lt. Governor) General Election Campaign

Upon reviewing the numerous reports from the each of the above mentioned campaign entities a number of legal and ethical questions have emerged. I hereby request that you offer an explanation to the voters of Arkansas for each of the following:

1.) Arkansas Campaign Finance laws require candidates to maintain separate bank accounts for each separate entity that they use to solicit campaign funds. However, all of seven of your various entities have been called “Halter for Arkansas.” Have you in fact kept seven separate bank accounts to prevent illegal co-mingling of funds? Are you willing to provide the necessary documentation to show separate accounts have been maintained (including account numbers, cancelled checks, and account balance histories) for the duration of your campaigns?

2.) On 3/29/2006, you transferred $18,050.00 from the Halter for Arkansas (Governor) Primary election campaign account to your Lt. Governor primary campaign account. Does this not constitute a minimum of ten (10) violations of campaign finance laws, as the funds of at least ten donors to your Governor’s race are now in an account where they have/will be spent on your run for Lt. Governor? Is this not another instance of illegal co-mingling of campaign funds?

3.) On March 20, 2006, having already repaid the $700,000.00 that you loaned yourself, you transferred the remaining balances of your Governor’s Exploratory Committees into your Governor’s Primary and General Campaign accounts, thus leaving a zero balance in your Exploratory Committees. Why did you pay yourself back, but not any of your other donors? Why did you continue to deposit funds in your Governor’s campaign accounts even though you were no longer seeking the office of Governor? Does this not violate Arkansas Campaign Finance Laws which require a candidate to refund any unspent funds within 30 days of the date when that candidate is no longer seeking the office for which the funds where solicited?

4.) On your final report for Halter for Arkansas (Governor) Primary Exploratory Committee filed March 30, 2006, you show non-itemized expenditures of $64,366.74 listed in the “other” category. Disclosure laws require that any expenditure over $100.00 be itemized. Did you really have $64,000 worth of expenditures all under $100.00? If so wouldn’t that be at least 644 separate expenditures over a 30 day period for an average of 21.5 non-itemized expenditures per day? What were these expenditures for? Will you provide documentation to prove the legality of these expenditures?

5.) On February 6, 2006, you transferred $63,541.51 from Halter for Arkansas (Governor) General Exploratory Committee to Halter for Arkansas (Governor) Primary Campaign. Since each of the donors to your General Exploratory committee had previously given the maximum legal donation to your primary efforts, how do you justify this transfer? Does this not constitute a minimum of thirty-two (32) violations of Arkansas Campaign Finance limits?

6.) Did you pay for the domain purchase, creation, development, and operation of the websites: www.billhalter.com and www.halterforarkansas.com with funds donated to your run for Governor of Arkansas? Does the continued use of the same to advertise your race for Lt. Governor constitute an illegal and undocumented in-kind contribution to your Lt. Governor Primary Campaign? In short, isn’t your Lt. Governor’s race benefiting from money given to you to run for Governor?

7.) Your Lt. Governor Primary Campaign Expenditure report filed on April 17, 2006 shows that you first paid the firm of Murphy, Putnam, Schorr on March 10, 2006. However, at least two local media outlets received payments from the same media firm on 3/9/2006 for airtime on your behalf. Also, the production of your Lt. Governor’s TV Ads occurred before you switched races on March 9th. Did you incorrectly report the date on which you first paid the media firm? If not, is there an undocumented payment to the media firm that occurred before March 9th, or did they extend you a line of credit? Finally, when and from which account did you pay for the production of your Lt. Governor’s television advertisements?

8.) On March 20, 2006, you transferred $2,087.82 from your Lt. Governor Primary Campaign to the Halter for Arkansas (Governor) Primary Election Campaign. What was the purpose of this action, and does it not constitute an illegal co-mingling of campaign funds? Since this occurred after you were no longer seeking the office of Governor, was this an illegal donation to your Governor’s campaign?

9.) On multiple occasions you have used campaign funds to make donations to churches including the AME and the Episcopal Lay Organization. These donations are a violation of Arkansas Campaign Finance Law Section 209(e) unless the candidate regularly attended these churches when he/she was not seeking election. Is this the case for you, or were the donations an illegal use of campaign funds?

10.) Arkansas Rules on Campaign Finance and Disclosure states in Section 224 that after a campaign has ended all assets must be disposed of at fair market value. Since your March 9th announcement that your campaigns for Governor had ended, have the assets of those campaigns been disposed of? If your Lt. Governor’s campaign has taken possession of said assets should there not be a record of their purchase from the Governor’s Campaign at fair market value? Doesn’t the lack of said documentation constitute a violation of Campaign Finance Rules?

11.) A review of the purchases of your Gubernatorial Exploratory Committees and Governor’s Primary Election Campaign show that the following assets, totaling $26,566.28, were acquired using funds raised for the Governor’s race. Where are these items now, and are they now or have they ever been used to promote your Lt. Governor’s campaign?
A.) Telephone Network $1500.00
B.) Halter for Arkansas Banner $298.75
C.) Dell Computer(s) $1996.62
D.) Office Furniture $300.00
E.) Democrat Gazette Subscription $80.00
F.) Halter for Arkansas Signs $1563.28
G.) Voter Activation Network $5000.00
H.) NGP Software and Support $14500.00
I.) Copy Machine $1327.63

12.) On March 28, 2006, you reported the transfer of $111,525.00 from the Halter for Arkansas (Governor) Primary Election Campaign to the Halter for Arkansas (Governor) General Election Campaign. Is this not another example of illegal co-mingling of campaign funds? Furthermore, is it legal for this transfer to be made 19 days after you were no longer seeking the office of Governor?

13.) On March 8, 2006 the Halter for Arkansas (Governor) Primary Exploratory Committee refunded the $700,000 that you had loaned to the race. However, the report filed for that Committee on March 30, 2006 showed $0.00 for the expenditure category “repayment of loans,” and reports $700,000 of outstanding campaign debts. Did you pay yourself back, and if so is it not illegal to continue to report a campaign debt?

14.) On March 4, 2006, you paid $2,000 rent for the month of March. Since you then switched races on March 9th, shouldn’t your Lt. Governor’s campaign have paid for the space from that point forward? Wouldn’t the failure to do so constitute an undocumented in-kind donation of $1419.35 worth of office space to your Lt. Governor Primary Campaign?

15.) Why did you loan your Governor’s Primary Exploratory Committee $100,000 on March 1, 2006, several weeks after you had formed a Governor’s Primary Election Campaign account? Shouldn’t you have ceased raising money for the exploratory committees immediately upon the formation of actual campaign accounts?

16.) Why did you continue to spend funds for non-preexisting debts from the Halter for Arkansas (Governor) Primary Election Campaign after you announced that you were no longer seeking the office of Governor? Specifically, were the expenses categorized as travel, office supplies, and paid workers that were made after March 9th legal expenditures for the Governor’s race, or were they expenditures that should have been paid from the Lt. Governor’s Primary Account?

17.) On several occasions your campaign has distributed a brochure, designed to double as a piece of direct mail, which promotes your Lt. Governor campaign. The disclaimer only says, “Paid for by Halter for Arkansas.” However, your March report for Halter for Arkansas (Lt. Governor) Primary Election Campaign shows no expenditure for direct mail or brochures. When were these pieces paid for? From which account were the funds taken? Furthermore, noting the number of entities with the name, “Halter for Arkansas,” shouldn’t your disclosure be more specific in order to comply with the spirit of the law?

18.) Your Governor’s Primary Election Campaign continued to accept donations well after you officially withdrew from the Governor’s race. From 3/17/2006, to 3/22/2006, reports show that the Halter for Arkansas (Governor) Primary Election Campaign received $14,050.00 in contributions from 11 donors. Shouldn’t you have returned the checks rather than cashing them? Is it not illegal to accept campaign contributions for an office that you are not seeking?

8:51 PM, April 25, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You know, it looks like Hathorn is right. I would have a hard time figuring how Halter could wiggle out of this. Of course, I have seen politicians squirm there way out of much much worse.

9:14 PM, April 25, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is tough to say when the other side has not spoken yet- but this could be explosive.

9:25 PM, April 25, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hathorn is a cry baby, which should now be clear to anyone paying attention. We will see such tactics in our own party in the next few weeks, so don't be too smug.

4:45 AM, April 26, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cry baby? It sounds like Halter is breaking the law. How does one report that your opponent is doing wrong without being a "cry baby"?

5:55 AM, April 26, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why is he asking rhetorical questions? Can these not be turned over for investigation?

Besides, since when do most Dems care about campaign finance violations? We all know that this wouldn't have been brought up if Halter hadn't tilted the outcome of their primary.

7:59 AM, April 26, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

They don't care about it when doing it to others, but do care when it is done against them.

5:43 AM, April 27, 2006  
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