Candidate tries to solve election violation claims - East Valley Tribune: Tempe

Candidate tries to solve election violation claims

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Posted: Wednesday, August 27, 2008 11:10 pm | Updated: 11:06 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

A Tempe Republican running for the state House of Representatives is working to settle allegations he violated the Clean Elections Law.

The Citizens Clean Elections Commission voted Tuesday to allow the agency's executive director, Todd Lang, to investigate whether Frank Schmuck failed to report expenses related to a fund raising event.

However, Schmuck and Lang said Wednesday they were close to resolving the matter without a fine or a penalty to the candidate.

"I don't think Mr. Schmuck or his campaign intended to violate the law or thought they were pulling shenanigans or thought they were pulling the wool over our eyes," Lang said. "I think they felt what they were doing was completely within the rules."

Schmuck is running for a seat in Legislative District 20, which covers portions of Chandler, Ahwatukee Foothills and Tempe.

Schmuck is running against Republicans Jeff Dial, Andy Swann and incumbent John McComish in that party's primary Tuesday.

The top two vote-getters will advance to the Nov. 4 general election.

South Phoenix resident Dominic Cota filed the complaint July 28 against Schmuck.

Lang found no violations on three of Cota's allegations, but he found "reason to believe" violations may have occurred on three others, according to commission documents.

Candidates have to collect 220 $5 contributions to qualify for clean elections funding and state law allows individuals to host parties at private residences or community rooms for that purpose without the candidate reporting the expenses.

The community rooms have to be used "on a regular basis by members of a community for noncommercial purposes," the law states.

Lang said the law is intended for households to hold small fundraising get-togethers, but Schmuck used the Ahwatukee Country Club, a privately owned company that operates for profit and doesn't fit the legal definition of community room.

"We did nothing wrong," Schmuck said. "We did everything in good faith."

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