Auditor's Campaign Forms in Compliance, but Opponent's Challenge Remains
Duffy Blackburn did file his loan disclosures late, but will not be penalized, election board official says. However, Mark Batinick's complaint will still get hearing.
Update/posted at 9:55 a.m. Friday:
Will County Auditor Duffy Blackburn's campaign disclosure records are in good standing, but a hearing will held on the challenge filed by his opponent, a representative for the State Board of Elections said Friday morning.
Tom Newman, deputy director of campaign disclosure, said Blackburn did file his A-1 forms late, thereby breaking the law, but it's a common mistake, especially when candidates loan themselves money. For that reason, a "one-time amnesty" is granted, with a warning that they must comply in the future, and no penalites assessed, Newman said.
However, forms that are filed late are not included in the online disclosure information. That is the data on which Mark Batinick, Blackburn's challenger in the November election, based his complaint.
The case has been assigned to a hearing officer, who is to meeting with Blackburn and Batinick on Aug. 8, Newman said.
Original story/posted Thursday night:
The man who would like to be elected Will County auditor this November has filed a complaint challenging incumbent Duffy Blackburn's campaign disclosure forms.
Republican Mark Batinick says Blackburn, a Joliet resident, failed to disclose two loans he made to his campaign committee -- one for $1,000 on June 19 and another for $4,000 on June 29 -- within five days of receipt, which violates state election law.
But Blackburn said Batinick's information is incorrect. While both forms were filed late, and thus are not on the State Board of Election's Web site, he is in complete compliance with the state's compaign disclosure laws, he said Thursday night.
Batinick's complaint was filed Wednesday with the board of elections, which will determine if the charge has merit before holding a public hearing. The board has the ability to impose of a civil fine of up to $5,000 if it finds Blackburn violated state law.
"Perhaps Mr. Blackburn might have asked his treasurer or his campaign chair to oversee his filings. Unfortunately, the auditor is his own campaign treasurer and chairman," Batinick wrote on his blog. "Apparently, Mr. Blackburn does not see a need to place controls in his campaign to thwart errors, omissions and financial disclosure violations."
Blackburn admitted he filed both loan forms loans late, but that he realized his error and corrected it July 16. He was told his corrected forms would not be posted online but that he was in good standing with the state, he said.
This information could not be verified by Patch on Thursday night, but will be Friday.
"I was busy with family and with work," Blackburn said. "I double-checked this week, and the forms have been filed."