Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Where's Rep. Giles?

In 2004, ICPR filed its first ever complaints with the State Board of Elections, noting that two political committees controlled by State Rep. Calvin Giles had failed to file required financial disclosure reports in over a year. Before we filed the complaints, we urged Giles to get his reports in, and we later found out that others had, too. But only after we made an administrative case out of it did Giles come through.

It was with some pride that we noted Giles filed on time last August. But now comes word that Giles is once again shirking. His long refusal to tell anybody how he funded his campaign – even as he voted for bills that strengthened campaign disclosure – resulted in severe financial penalties. Giles now owes $140K in fines, more than he had in his fund last June 30. And just like before, he’s stopped answering requests that he pay his fines – fines that he voted for as a legislator.

Whatever this sorry tale says about Rep. Giles, in some ways it says more about the State Board of Elections, whose statutory authority to enforce its own rulings is patchy. While knocking candidates off the ballot for non-payment may or may not be constitutional, surely there must be a way to put some teeth in that bulldog.