As most of my readers know, I like to review pre-election campaign finance reports. That's how we find out what special interests are backing a candidate. But last November, I simply was unable to find one for Tom O'Donnell, one of the Democratic County Council candidates.
In response to this matter I just spoke to Tom O’Donnell. I informed him that the Elections Office has received a complaint in writing in regards to him not following finance laws and spending over $250.00 Dollars on his campaign. He stated that his treasure George Treisner has filed all the appropriate paper work to the state. I then informed him that he is not a state candidate therefore it should not be filed with the state; he is a local candidate who must file on a local level. I also told him that he is going to have to file the finance reports to our office and also if he has a committee he must legally form that committee by filling out the Political Committee Registration Statement. He asked me to mail the papers to him and said that George Treisner is out of town and when he comes back, this will be taken care of.Treisner, his treasurer, was also at that time the Elections Commission Chair. Out of town or not, I decided to track him down. When I got to him, Treisner also told me that he had filed O'Donnell's paperwork with the state.
I told Treisner I couldn't find it. In fact, there was no record he had even formed a committee.
"Keep looking," Treisner told me, and hung up.
I did. I called the state, and asked them to look. There was no committee registered under O'Donnell's name. There was no online report. In fact, I was told that it would be impossible for O'Donnell to have filed online because he would need a state identification number, and they only would give that to him if he were a state candidate.
The next day, O'Donnell finally filed a report and paid a $100 fine for being late. Though he had campaign signs that say they were paid for by "Citizens to Elect Tom O'Donnell," he formed no committee and filed individually. Every single one of his campaign signs had the wrong disclaimer.
Since he filed individually, there was no campaign treasurer. That appears to be yet another lie.
O'Donnell was ultimately defeated at the polls. But the person who helped him evade campaign finance laws wants to be re-appointed to the Elections Commission.
"How on earth can you appoint someone to the Elections Commission who doesn't even know how to follow campaign finance laws?" I asked Council yesterday. "To me, that's ridiculous."
Joe Welsh, a prominent Easton Democrat, defended Treisner, claiming this little slip up in no way impugns his "great integrity." I think it does.
"If you don't know the election laws, maybe you shouldn't be on the committee," mused Personnel Chair Ken Kraft, who himself once chaired the Elections Commission and believes it improper for a commission member to be involved in partisan races.
Council actually listened to me and tabled Treisner's nomination so they could investigate my claims.
I left the meeting in shock.
Actually, I had to leave because my car had broken down and I was hitching a ride with my brother. But don't fret. I caught the rest of the meeting online.