Gilbert political action committee fined $30,000 - East Valley Tribune: News

Gilbert political action committee fined $30,000

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Posted: Friday, May 9, 2003 7:40 am | Updated: 2:02 pm, Thu Oct 6, 2011.

The Gilbert Attorney’s Office has levied a $30,000 fine against a political action committee supporting the street bond.

Better, Safer Streets for Gilbert violated campaign finance law by failing to notify the town of two $30,000 contributions and a $38,000 expenditure within the required 24-hour time frame, the attorney’s office concluded Wednesday.

The committee may request a hearing within 20 days.

"The fact the city can assess a fine of that magnitude for an error that’s both technical and self-reported is crazy," committee attorney Andy Gordon said. "In major statewide races, this is usually resolved in the $1,000 to $2,000 range."

Better, Safer Streets for Gilbert, which is supporting the $80 million proposal in the May 20 election, faxed a statement on April 23 to the Gilbert Town Clerk’s Office that reported $30,000 donations from developers Canyon Oaks and Westcor on April 14 and 15, respectively, and a $38,000 expenditure to political consultants The Media Guys on April 16.

Any contribution or expenditure of more than $10,000 must be reported within 24 hours, according to state law. The penalty levied by the town attorney could have been up to three times the amount improperly reported, or $294,000.

Political action committees and Town Council candidates had to file campaign finance statements on Thursday, listing contributions and expenditures between April 1 and 30.

Better, Safer Streets for Gilbert reported $73,420, including $10,000 from Vestar Development, $2,000 from the Gilbert Chamber of Commerce and $1,000 from the Arizona Association of Realtors.

The two anti-bond committees collected far less. Citizens on Your Side received $2,190, including $1,000 from the East Valley Republican Assembly, and Citizens Against Government Deception received none.

Of the six council candidates, Vice Mayor Steve Urie collected the most with $3,360, followed by Councilman Les Presmyk with $650 and Councilman Larry Morrison with $350. Candidate Daryl Colvin received zero contributions, but has raised $14,275 during the campaign — the most of any candidate. Cathy Pai has not reached the $500 minimum required to file and Lorin Hatch missed the deadline.

The political action committee Citizens for Controlled Growth, which forced a September referendum to overturn zoning that allows a "bigbox" store, received $9,247 from United Food and Commercial Workers Local 99 union.

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