Sunday, April 27, 2014

Brian Mahern's Curious Campaign Finance Report - edited

Not long after my last blog entry went live (see "Maggie Lewis' Curious Campaign Finance Reports"), an alert reader made me aware of the curious nature of City-County Councillor Brian Mahern's latest campaign finance report.

Covering all of 2013, the report for "Brian Mahern for Better Government" notes $6055.94 in contributions - all unitemized.  Since my husband and I made a small donation to Mahern's campaign last year, I know for a fact that at least one was reportable as an itemized entry.  [edited to add: another alert reader sent me an Indiana Code citation that says only donations over $100.00 need be itemized in campaign finance reports.  My donation was less than that.  While our names and addresses were available on the check, there was no legal requirement to report it.]

The purpose of campaign finance reporting is simple transparency of who gave how much, and where it went.  To ignore that, or worse to have something to hide, is not "Better Government".  With non-disclosure, the public is left to wonder why.

I have a great deal of respect for Mahern; respect that grew gradually as I saw him take one stand after another that demonstrated an expectation that government work for the benefit of the people.  That respect does not evaporate with this one omission. But, this one omission does sadden me.

All of Mahern's earlier campaign finance reports itemized contributions.  Whether Mahern took a 'screw them' attitude, couldn't locate his ledger containing the donors' names, had something to hide, or something totally different - I do not know.  Unless the online Election Board listing is somehow incomplete, this is one time Mahern did not hold the public interest in high regard, and that mars his record.

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