Saturday, September 25, 2010

Part II: Campaign finance – Examining Delegate Ware’s finance report

Delegate Ware and Governor McDonald at Steel Dynamics in August

For the purposes of Part Two we will examine Roanoke Delegate Onzlee Ware’s (D-11) expenditure report for the six months ending June 30, 2010. The report is complete and detailed – probably due to the incessant criticism and complaints to the Virginia State Board of Elections by Mark Powell last year.

The ongoing saga received little attention from the mainstream press. See these links to previous posts on the complaint to the SBE by Powell and determination by James Hopper, Senior State’s Attorney for the SBE HERE. Also read what the Virginian-Pilot had to say about the determination HERE.

Ware’s highly detailed report is commendable. Powell had complained about Ware’s past reports with reimbursements authorized by himself to himself with no explanation, missing addresses and questionable use of funds. Ware got the message on that.

Though Ware’s latest expenditure report is complete it does evoke questions. <After reading The Roanoke Times Blue Ridge Caucus blog I dug this out of my working drafts. >

Not to target just Delegate Ware I looked at Delegate Bill Cleaveland and Senator John Edwards campaign reports. They yielded nothing notable. This would be a good exercise for you to look up their campaign filings for comparison with Delegate Ware. This is a non-election year for all three. <A little more on that later too>

To find your representative go HERE.

To examine your representative’s contributors (individual, PACs, lobbyists, etc) go to VPAP.org.

Preferred by me: Detailed campaign reports submitted by all state officials similar to the report below go to the Virginia State Board of Elections (SBE) HERE.

Remember that delegates are paid $17,640 annually and senators receive $18,000. While in session from January to the middle of March each year House Delegates receive $135 per day and Senators receive $169 if their district is outside Richmond by a radius of about 50 miles. Each get the per diem for the entire session whether they use it or not – no questions asked. To be fair with hotel accommodations, food and transportation the per diem can be easily exceeded.

Virginia is a “disclosure state” –  it is up to you to determine if an official or candidate uses their campaign funds (See Part One) for official business, connecting with the electorate,  campaigning or <gasp> personal use.

This spreadsheet was downloaded from the SBE, sorted by service, date and person paid then subtotaled by service.

My first “say what?” moment with this report was the $50 business license payable to the City or Roanoke treasurer. This presumably was for his law office. Say you contributed $50 to Ware’s campaign? How do you like paying for his personal business license.

I asked David Poole with VPAP (Virginia Public Access Project) where was the disclosure of Ware’s June trip to France (as reported by WSLS and godanriver.com). It was paid for by Virginia Uranium Incorporated. Poole said it should be in Ware”s Statement of Economic Interest in January. Watch how he votes on the mining of uranium in Pittsylvania County.

I first jumped past dates while the General Assembly was in session. I wondered what was with all the car rentals and gas in Greensboro, North Carolina for starters. Then all the local meals like at Golden Corral and in Greensboro. As mentioned by watchdog.orgthe hotel stays make you go hmmmm! Then there is the “cigar supplies” at Havana Connections. The 2009 campaign announcement disclosure of $100 at the Dumas center was after a complaint that TAP (Total Action Against Poverty), a nonprofit, allegedly donated use of the center for his 2009 campaign announcement. This complaint went through a long and tedious complaint process with TAP’s Board of Directors.

I’ll write later about a House Bill, communication with the Attorney General’s office and a phone call with Delegate Harry Purkey.

Delegate Ware has a balance of only $163. I’ll add my thoughts on this later too. OK a hint – it looks to me like purposeful dumping of his campaign account say before a final report? NOTE:  [Originally posted Sept. 16, 2010]

Posted By Valerie Garner

Categories: Finance, Politics, State Politics

Tags: ,

Comments (4)

BJ

September 16th, 2010 at 11:31 AM    


This comment is in reference to the $50 business license fee. I have to question if this was for his law office. Having dealt with the need for a business license myself just a couple years ago, $50 is the annual cost of a business license for businesses earning between $.01 and $99,999.99. It is my understanding that the cost for the license is greater for a business which has a higher income.

Val

September 16th, 2010 at 1:08 PM    


There is no doubt that a business license would be required for Ware’s legal office. It can’t by any stretch of the imagination be a campaign expense. I’ve not found any other legislator claiming it in their report. One I contacted was very surprised.

Val

September 16th, 2010 at 1:58 PM    


Forgot to mention the “ATM withdrawal” without explanation.


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