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Sunday, May 1, 2016

F.O.P fined for ad violations

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

(Photo)
Vickie Wheeler
The Clay County Election Board came to a decision regarding possible campaign finance and election law violations during a meeting Monday.

The board initially met to gather information in the matter April 28, which was spurned by allegations of violations occurring in an advertisement placed in The Brazil Times by the Fraternal Order of Police (F.O.P.) Lodge 114 on April 11, endorsing Brian Wyndham for Brazil Mayor. The petition with the allegations was filed by Samuel T. Conner.

The alleged violations included that the advertisement did not include a proper "disclaimer" as described by Indiana Code 3-9-3-2.5.

The F.O.P -- which is a not-for-profit entity -- had spent more than $100 in advertising and it had not filed to open a Political Action Committee (PAC), which is required once the $100 threshold is surpassed.

"We found during the meeting that there was enough information provided to conduct an investigation in the matter," Election Board Secretary Vickie Wheeler told The Brazil Times.

On Monday, the board declared the F.O.P. was in violation of not opening its PAC within 10 days of exceeding the $100 in advertising, in accordance to I.C. 3-9-1-3.

The violation allowed the board to assess a civil penalty of up to $50 for each day the report was late. The statement declaring the organization of the PAC was officially filed April 27.

Wheeler told The Brazil Times the calculation of the 10-day period begins on the day the ad was paid for, which was April 7, not the day the ad appears in a publication.

"We decided to fine the F.O.P. $85 for their violation, which included $25 for the first day and $10 for each day after," she said. "Back in 2008, the Election Board passed a resolution setting a fee schedule for our county."

Clay County Deputy Election Clerk Beth Mallinak said the days counted only include those in which the Clay County Courthouse is open for business, which included April 18-21, and April 25-27. Friday, April 22 was not included in the calculation as the courthouse was closed in observance of Good Friday.

"It was pretty cut and dry," Wheeler said regarding the findings. "All the information was recorded in some way through the paperwork."

On May 7, the F.O.P. placed a second advertisement in The Brazil Times correcting errors, stating the initial ad should included the statement, "Paid for by the Fraternal Order of Police #114 PAC, and not authorized by any candidate or candidates' committee."

Wheeler said F.O.P. Treasurer/Secretary Dave Archer was allowed to speak during Monday's meeting.

"Mr. Archer explained he had checked into the Federal regulations, which allow up to $1,000 in advertising before a PAC has to be organized," she said. "However, Indiana law requires the PAC to be formed after more than $100 is expended."

With the original ad not including the disclaimer, the board had the option of referring the matter to the Prosecutor's Office, which could have resulted in a potential filing of a class A misdemeanor.

"With the F.O.P. running the ad with the correction, there was no need for us to refer the issue to the Prosecutor," Wheeler said. "However, an individual could still request the charge be filed, but it would be at the Prosecutor's discretion on whether or not it would be pursued."

Wheeler is joined on the Election Board by Chairman Rick Alumbaugh and member Dave Mallinak. However, in this matter, John Turner served as the proxy Republican member in place of Mallinak, who has had prior associations with the F.O.P.


Comments
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Why Waste Time with $85.00

before the F.O.P. put a penny in, they should of did their homework. and Before anyone took the money , they should of did their homework too. I see Brazil officials wont change. Lead by example!

-- Posted by carebuttonbroke on Wed, May 25, 2011, at 11:01 PM

Hmm. No one seems to mention the issue of why the FOP was supporting a candidate anyhow.

When they call me for donations, it's usually for aid to officers injured and their families. No where do they state that they are soliciting donations to support their favored candidate.

My donations going elsewhere.

-- Posted by Jenny Moore on Thu, May 26, 2011, at 8:00 AM

FYI...FOP Lodge #114 does not solicit donations by phone. Jenny, I'm not sure who you are donating your money to, it could possibly be the FOP State Lodge, or it could be the Indiana State Police Alliance which is not affiliated with the FOP at all.

The local FOP Lodge is within their rights to endorse any candidate, according to their Tax Status which is a 501(c)(8). After reviewing the paperwork presented to them by the FOP, the Election Board chose to look no further into this allegation stating only that this would have been an IRS issue anyway not an issue for the Election Board to even consider. Many FOP Lodges throughout the state have supported Mayoral Candidates in the recent past, so this isn't anything new. If you want more information you should type in IRS code 501 (c)(8) and then google FOP candidate support and you will find that in this past primary alone, both Noblesville and Portage FOP's endorsed candidates as well. If you would like to have an informed opinion as to what your local FOP lodge does or does not do, Ask a member, I'm sure they would be more than willing to help you out with that information. I have to say that I'm surprised that you did not do any of your own research before posting, That's not usually like you. I guess this is an easy opportunity to slam an organization using only information that was provided with a slanted view by those who were supporting the candidate whom the FOP did not support. I'm glad you donate to whomever it is that's calling you, but, maybe you should ask them who they are next time. BTW, just so you know, the $85 dollar fine was because the FOP did not form their P.A.C. (Political Action Committee)within the allotted 10 days. This is an election board violation not a violation of criminal law. If I sound as though I am informed, I am. I went to the source and asked questions.

-- Posted by rukiddingme62 on Thu, May 26, 2011, at 9:49 AM

I understand there was never a vote taken of the FOP members. I personaly know members who were never asked it was all done by a couple of cry babies that arent worthy of being police officers. There is a click within the police dept. There have been a lot of good policemen who quit because of this clik. Don't elect some one who is going to let this click run the show!

-- Posted by grays on Thu, May 26, 2011, at 12:46 PM

rukiddingme62:

Maybe my bad. I was under the impression that FOP was FOP and they were all connected sort of like Girl Scouts/Boy Scouts were all connected under one organization even though they had separate troops/councils etc.

So the different lodges aren't under the non profit umbrella of the larger organization and file their own non profit papers separately?

The reason I ask is when we moved here I was told explicitly that our schools did not have a PTA as that was a "trademark" under the national PTA and Clay County wasn't a part of that so they were called PTO.

Would not FOP be the same?? If so there should be guidelines in larger parent FOP that regulated use of funds even if it weren't illegal to do so.

Even if this lodge doesn't do phone solicitations, if it's part of the larger organization and using its name and it's non profit status, it's part of same organization.

Please clarify.

-- Posted by Jenny Moore on Tue, May 31, 2011, at 8:53 AM


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