GREENSBURG – Five political candidates and office holders have failed to fully complete their campaign finance reports in the last three years, putting them in violation of Indiana election law, according to the Decatur County Clerk’s office.
The Decatur County Election Board on Tuesday decided to have Decatur County Clerk Janet Chadwell, who is a member of the Election Board, send those not in compliance a letter requesting that they amend their reports by March 3 to avoid any potential fines. Chadwell said the letters were mailed Tuesday afternoon.
Indiana law requires that political candidates file an annual campaign finance report — unless they disband their candidate committee, which is created when the candidates file for office. Candidates often disband their committees in January after the election when they file their final campaign finance report. A committee can be disbanded by checking a box on the first page of the report, but only if the balance in the committee’s account is zero.
Five candidates from elections within the last three years had not disbanded their committees, but did not file annual campaign finance reports for 2012 and 2013, said Faith Koors, deputy clerk in Decatur County. The candidates are City Council President Blake O’Mara, Decatur County Commissioner John Richards, City Councilman Terry Wagner, and former City Council candidates Larry Bower and Oris Reece. Another candidate, Decatur County Prosecutor James Rosenberry, has amended his report for 2012 and filed the report for 2013 late.
The deadline to file the annual report for 2013 was Jan. 15 of this year. The Daily News began inquiring about missing reports shortly thereafter. The County Election Board took up the issue in a public meeting Tuesday morning at the Decatur County Courthouse.
The responsibility to disband the committee or file the annual report lies with the candidates, said Bradley King, co-director of the Indiana Election Division, the state agency that oversees elections.