11th District Delegate Onzlee Ware
Questions regarding Democratic incumbent Delegate Onzlee Ware campaign expenditures have surfaced and are under review by the State Board of Elections. Primarily for the 2009 and 2008 years but may go back even further to 2007. The State Board of Elections Campaign Finance Manager, David Allen, has requested legal advice from Jim Hopper with the State’s Attorney’s Office in Richmond.
Allen stated in a phone call that, “it is highly likely that he [Ware] will be asked to at least complete an amended filing.” Ware acts as his own treasurer. Items that Hopper will advise the SBE about include:
Possible further explanation needed with Ware reimbursing himself designating “Item or Service” as “reimbursement” without explanation on 1/12/2009 for $350. Other entries date back to 2008: $500 on 12/3/2008, $500 on 4/20/2008, $335.61 on 3/5/2008, $500 on 5/24/2008, 1/8/2008 for $750, 1/28/2008 for $350.
An amount to “cash” for “polls” in the amount of $1250 on 2/11/2008.
Possible non-disclosure of payment to a private individual to display a large campaign sign on the owner’s property.
Also needing further explanation per Allen are a multitude of donations by Ware to individuals with no indication of what the donations are for.
Incomplete addresses for disbursements will need to be rectified.
A questionable campaign expenditure application fee for 501(3)(c) status in the amount of $300 on 12/2/08 for the 2009 Juneteenth Celebration is being reviewed in light of payments made for Juneteenth in 2009.
Payments totaling $3000 to Letitia Malone as Juneteenth Event Coordinator on 2/1/2009 and 2/13/2009 from campaign funds. This is questionable due to Ware’s application for 501(3)(c) status. Malone is Director of Roanoke’s Methadone Clinic located on Hershberger Road.
Other items that are more personal items paid for out of campaign funds are a membership in Gainsboro’s YMCA, Symphony tickets, and a multitude of church offerings and donations.
In 2008 prior to the application for 501(3)(c) status TAP was a recipient of $3000 for the Juneteenth Gala from campaign funds. An additional $3500 of 2008 Juneteenth expenses came from Ware’s campaign according to the SBE filings.
The Juneteenth expenditures being paid out of campaign funds leans toward the Juneteenth celebration being a “political” event rather then a celebration for Freedom Day inspired by Ware and Delegate Frank Hargrove. Ware defended Hargrove when he said black people “should get over” slavery followed by another Hargrove comment questioning if Jews should apologize “for killing Christ.” This set off a firestorm during the 2007 General Assembly session where an apology for slavery in Virginia was being debated. Ware and Hargrove then co-sponsored Resolution 56 designating June 19 as Juneteenth Freedom Day. The Resolution passed unanimously and was a compromise in lieu of an outright apology by Hargrove for his remarks.
Ware’s commendable donations include his donation of $1000 to Opera Roanoke, $150 to National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Special Olympics $50, Vinton War Memorial $500,
However, organizations that may be considering donating to Ware’s Juneteenth celebration should be aware that the event is being paid for at least in part from campaign donations making it a political event. Donating to political events is prohibited by non-profits.
SBE Campaign Finance Disclosure Itemized Expenditure Report for 2009 is HERE.
SBE Campaign Finance Disclosure Itemized Expenditure Report for 2008 is HERE.
Virginia State Finance Law is HERE.
Commonwealth Attorney Don Caldwell
On another development Ware’s opposition in the June 9 primary, Martin Jeffrey has a beef with the Commonwealth Attorney, Don Caldwell. Jeffrey’s campaign manager, Mark Powell has filed complaints with Caldwell’s office over non-delivery of Ware’s filing documents for review as allowed by Roanoke City Democratic Committee bylaws. Powell has contacted the State’s Attorney’s Office in an effort to change the venue as he believes that Caldwell’s close ties to the Roanoke City Democratic Committee and his endorsement of Ware will not lend itself to a vigorous and unbiased review of the campaign’s complaints.
In a phone call to State’s Attorney William Kincaid’s office he said he was not prepared to make a statement concerning Powell’s complaint at this early stage. Powell’s documents and complaint had just been received in the office. Kincaid made it clear he represents the State in such matters but is willing to point Powell in the right direction upon review of the documents.
Pictured: Commonwealth Attorney Don Caldwell flanked by Commissioner of Revenue Sherman Holland, Treasuer Evelyn Powers, and Councilwoman and 17th District Candidate Gwen Mason.
Under the Internal Revenue Code, all section 501(c)(3) organizations are absolutely prohibited from directly or indirectly participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office. Contributions to political campaign funds or public statements of position (verbal or written) made on behalf of the organization in favor of or in opposition to any candidate for public office clearly violate the prohibition against political campaign activity. Violating this prohibition may result in denial or revocation of tax-exempt status and the imposition of certain excise taxes.
Posted By Valerie Garner
Categories: Election 2009, Politics, State Politics
Tags: democrat, election2009, house_of_delegates, Onzlee_Ware