In the Pruitt matter, APOC’s commissioners increased the recommended civil penalty in their final report—and could likewise make a similar adjustment in the Bronson matter when APOC issues its final report on the Dunbar campaign’s complaint. The total maximum civil penalty recommended by APOC, in this case, is $52,650—which, yes, given the nature of the report’s findings, doesn’t sound like a lot—but it’s nearly 3 times the penalty APOC assessed against former Rep. Pruitt. In its April complaint, the Dunbar for Mayor campaign asserted BFM had engaged in “alleged acts of sloppy and inaccurate accounting, deliberate obfuscation of campaign activity, and potentially tens of thousands of dollars in illegal campaign contributions.”
The takeaway from APOC’s statement here can’t be understated—that BFM effectively blinded the public—who was unable to ascertain how the Bronson campaign was conducting itself during the course of the campaign. APOC’s statement is telling. APOC is, after all, the experts of campaign finance. When APOC wrote that their own staff was “wading” through Bronson’s “utterly confusing” reports for “many days,” they meant it—which makes their next sentence even more ominous, that if APOC’s own staff faced challenges trying to figure out BFM’s mess the public sure as hell had “no idea” what was going on.
Wasn’t that the Bronson campaign’s plan? “Finally, after wading through BFM’s utterly confusing reports for many days, it isclear to staff that the public had no idea of what was going on in the BFM campaign untilwell after the April 6, 2021 election and the May 11, 2021 runoff election.”
Attorney Stacey Stone was the Bronson for Mayor’s Counsel who downplayed what she referred to in April’s expedited consideration hearing as “small mistakes,” telling APOC Commissioners that BFM was undertaking an audit and would submit amended reports soon. Soon never came. APOC’s Staff Report states: “relied on the representation of counsel for Bronson for Mayor that any violations would be expeditiously corrected with amendments to campaign disclosure reports and return of any prohibited contributions.”
In its Staff Report, APOC wrote that it was “important to note” that in denying the Dunbar campaign’s expedited consideration request, the Commission had: Clearly, and as Dunbar’s campaign argued in April, their request for “expedited consideration” of its complaint should have been granted by APOC, and perhaps APOC now regrets its decision not to have done so.
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- Bronson Campaign Breaks Campaign Finance Laws, Blinding the Public | News
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