Candidates late on campaign finance filings

    Note to candidates for office in Philadelphia: Your campaign finance report isn’t a college term paper – you can’t take an incomplete and do it next year.

    Some candidates still seem to be unaware that they have two separate filing requirements:

    1. The state election code requires a report to be filed with the city commissioners, which serves as the county board of election.

    2. City law also requires an electronic filing with the city Board of Ethics, so the reports appear on the city Department of Records website.

    As far as I can tell, the only ones who seem to have filed neither are Council candidates Robin Tasco, Lamont Thomas and Humberto Perez and candidate for sheriff Jacque Whaumbush.

    But Ethics Board executive director Shane Creamer announced yesterday that 11 candidates hadn’t filed electronic reports.

    “It is astonishing to me that candidates have not filed what is arguably the most important report before the election,” he told me.

    Creamer didn’t announce who the eleven non-filers were, but Isaiah Thompson of City Paper checked and produced this tally. One of those listed, incumbent City Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown filed today.

    Perhaps even more troubling, more than 200 political committees who gave to Philadelphia candidates failed to file with the Ethics Board, Creamer said.

    He noted that it’s been a requirement since January 2007 to file electronic reports if you’re running for office or donating to candidates here.

    “Hundreds if people have filed thousands of reports over the last five years,” Creamer said. “It’s not that hard to do.”

    We also have this interesting note of non-disclosure, discovered by the Daily News’ Catherine Lucey. Marge Tartaglione, the longtime chair of the city commission reported on her campaign expense filing that she had spent not a penny on her campaign from Jan. 1 to May 2nd.

    But Lucey found ads in the Philadelphia Public Record for her in April “paid for by committee to elect Margaret Tartaglione.” This could be troubling.

    The Ethics Board has investigated and fined candidates for material misstatements on their campaign expense statements.

    I reached Marge’s daughter Rene, who said the committee’s finance report is accurate – she hasn’t spent any money on the campaign.

    “I haven’t had the time to raise any money,” she said. So what about the ads?

    “I don’t know anything about that. You have to talk to Jimmy Tayoun,” Rene said.

    I reached Tayoun, who owns the Public Record. He said Tartaglione hasn’t paid him anything because he hasn’t billed her.

    “Yeah, she ordered the ad,” he told me. “I showed it to her, she liked it, and I said, ‘don’t worry about it,’ I’ll bill you after the election.'”

    One more note: Hats off to Common Cause, which is giving up-to-date information on large campaign contributions to Philadelphia candidates that come in after the reports filed last week. They’re on a new blog you can find here.

    You’ll discover fun facts, like the fact that sheriff candidate Jewell Williams got a late $5,000 gift from the committee of State Rep. Dwight Evans.

    UPDATE: Bob Warner has a piece on late-filers in Friday’s Inquirer, with this explanation from Council candidate Lamont Thomas for his failure to reveal his contributions and expenses: “It’s going to be filed, but it’s going to be filed at the last minute…I don’t want to tip my hand, to give my opponent a clear idea of what I’m doing and what I’m not doing.”

    He might as well say,” I’m prepared to violate the law as long as it advances my political amitions.”

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