Well, that didn't take long. Yesterday morning, Ken Petrini and I both told you that Lehigh County Commissioner candidates Hillary Kwiatek (running in District 5 against incumbent Glenn Eckhart) and Jeanne McNeill (running in District 1 against Tom Creighton) had both filed their pre-election campaign finance reports (see them here). That's a good thing. But in those reports, they fail to note $72,000 that Executive Don Cunningham had set aside so they could do three mailers each. That's a bad thing.
By late yesterday afternoon, both McNeill and Kwiatek had amended their reports to note Cunningham's generous assistance. Kwiatek and McNeill both tell me they never received the necessary invoices until Friday, the deadline for filing. McNeill's report had already been filed two days earlier, and Kwiatek's was already finished when she got the news.
Kwiatek has already stated she "would never intentionally deceive or mis-report information on these reports." For her part, McNeill tells me "I have always worked hard to maintain openness and honesty. I received the info on Friday and my report had been finished and turned in by Wednesday. I did not realise that I could amend it to reflect the change. I thought I had to wait until the next report to do so. Thanks to your column, I was made aware of this. I was unable to add it to my first report because I did not have the figures in hand and did not want to guess at something so important. If you ask anyone that knows me, they will tell you that I am an upstanding decent person who always does what is right. I apologize to anyone that felt it was not handled in the correct way."
I believe them both. If they were interested in playing games, they would have simply waited until the next filing period.
Their reports, as amended, reveal that Executive Don Cunningham is their chief benefactor. Some of you may feel this makes them rubber stamps incapable of independent oversight. Others may think that all this means is that Cunningham recognizes two good people who understand and will help his agenda over the next four years.
What's important, from my perspective, is that you know the county exec is financing these candidates. You can draw your own conclusions.