Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Virginia State Board of Elections has $1 million of fines and fees to collect

money_wallpapers_91Virginia’s cash-strapped General Fund needs feeding and all state agencies have been summoned to the trough. Agencies must take “all appropriate and cost-effective actions to aggressively collect all accounts receivable.” The State Board of Elections is no exception.

Unpaid fines levied as far back as 1998 are targeted for collection. CLICK HERE for the excel spreadsheet of unpaid fines of officials, candidates, political action and party committees. A paltry $130,000 of the fines have been collected. All fines go into the State’s General Fund.

James Hopper, Senior Attorney General and advisor to the SBE has concluded that they have no choice but to comply with the Virginia Debt Collection Act in the Code of Virginia. The Debt Collection Act in addition to the fines mandates that interest, late fees and attorney fees be levied.

SBE Staff spend the first year following assessment of the civil penalty sending out certified letters in an attempt to collect. Each letter costs $5.54 to mail. This year alone they have mailed over 1100 letters said Allen.

Reggie Wilson, Fiscal Division advised that the State Board of Elections intends to implement the assessment of administrative fees for monies owed as a result of campaign finance penalties and fines. Administrative fees alone have reached over $245,000. Luckily the older past due accounts won’t be subject to interest and penalties. The assessment of administrative fees won’t take effect until sometime around February 2010.

On the spreadsheet former SBE member Chris Perkins placed remarks uncollectable due to the statue of limitations (4 years). Allen indicated that collection had been erroneously waived and that the statue of limitations only applies to the filing of additional charges against the delinquent account holders. The fines can still be collected. Other notations show “administratively closed.” These are PACs that are no longer active (5 years)but fines are still due.

“Even if the entire $1 million is uncollectable you’re looking at least maybe you could get five or six hundred thousand dollars,” said Allen.

When asked who is going to collect, Allen said that the Code of Virginia already contains language directing the localities Commonwealth Attorney to collect the outstanding accounts. The list will be broken out and sent to each locality. This will likely take place around the first part of 2010. All moneys goes to the State.

Posted By Valerie Garner

Categories: Finance, Politics, State Politics

Tags: , ,


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