Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Uh-oh .... I found it.

Today's post is a follow-up to yesterday's, Where's Steve Gill ??, and one from October 13th, Rocks and glass houses, peas in a pod, birds of a feather, and politics. It seems like the more I dig, the more I find. I would really like to pass the shovel to the "professional journalists" out there. However, since they're not doing this dirty job, someone else has to. I've now found a Tennessee Registry of Election Finance (TREF) 2006 Audit Report for Senator Mae Beavers, and according to the report, they had some questions about Beavers campaign finances, too. The TREF's audit report contained five findings, or "deficiencies," in her 2006 reports. They are explained below.

First, the report states that she "... understated total contributions received during her 2006 campaign." She failed to report $5873 in contributions received during the period covered by the audit. The "omission" violated T.C.A. Section 2-10-105(a) and included :
  • two $1000 donations from PAC's, 
  • two $1000 donations from individuals, and
  • two $250 donations from individuals.
Second, the report states that she "... failed to itemize all contributions from individuals who contributed more than $100 during a reporting period." There were seven of these un-itemized contributions totaling $748 which violated T.C.A. Section 2-10-107(a)(2)(A)(i) and included an un-itemized contribution received from an individual for $500.

Third, the report states that she "... did not follow the Registry rules for bookkeeping" including reconciling the campaign bank account and records to the campaign disclosure filings. The auditors believed that if she had done so, she would not have :
  • reported a $2000 contribution from a couple as only $1600,
  • reported a $125 contribution from an individual as only $100,
  • double reported a $500 contribution adjustment from a PAC,
  • double reported a $200 contribution from an individual,
  • reported a $100 contribution from an individual as $1000, 
  • reported payment amounts to vendors, incorrectly,
  • double reported vendor payments, and 
  • double reported un-itemized expenses.
Fourth, the report states she "... failed to report all campaign expenditures." Specifically, the report states that she failed to report $7170.83 disbursed out of her campaign account in violation of T.C.A. Section 2-10-105(a). The disbursements she failed to report include :
  • $962.15 in telephone expenses,
  • $500 paid to a campaign worker,
  • $2212.69 paid for campaign signs, and
  • $3215 paid for radio advertising expense.
Lastly, the report states that she "... failed to itemize several expenditures to payees who were paid more than $100 during a reporting period." These violated T.C.A. Section 2-10-107(a)(2)(B) and involved $1085.14 worth of un-itemized expenditures with much of the total involving gas purchases.

At the conclusion of the audit, TREF recommended that :
Sen. Beavers should amend her campaign financial disclosure reports to include all campaign contributions and expenditures received and disbursed during her campaign. Sen. Beavers should amend her reports to ensure that she reported all individuals that contributed more than $100.00 during each reporting period as itemized. Sen. Beavers should amend her reports to ensure that she reported all disbursements to a source that received more than $100.00 during each reporting period as itemized. For future elections, the candidate should develop a campaign record-keeping system that adequately meets the requirements of the campaign financial disclosure statutes. The system should ensure that documentation is obtained and maintained for each contributor. Finally, the candidate should reconcile the campaign bank account to the campaign disclosure statements to ensure that all campaign finance activities are properly recorded and reported.
Due to my accounting background, it appears to me that one of the causes of the "discrepancies" noted in TREF's audit report is either a lack of proper internal control, a failure to follow proper internal control procedures, or both. Furthermore, these "issues" cause me to seriously question if Beavers can adequately represent us in the State Senate at a time when serious monetary and budget problems will face the next governor and General Assembly. They will have serious work to do to keep the state financially solvent. To Beavers credit, however, the TREF's report does state that she chose to follow the auditors' recommendations by amending the reports in question. However, as I asked yesterday, where was Steve Gill and the rest of the media in all this mess ?? It seems that someone should have asked whether these were mere oversights or intentional misrepresentations on the part of the Beavers' campaign. It seems that other candidates get hammered for any alleged campaign finance "discrepancies" but Beavers gets a pass. It's an obvious double standard, and it's not right.

In my opinion, this audit report is further proof to me that it is time to replace Beavers and give someone else an opportunity to serve in the Tennessee Senate. She has been in the Tennessee Legislature for about 15 years which is long enough. I encourage Tennessean's living in the 17th Senate District, including Wilson, DeKalb, Smith, Cannon, Trousdale, Macon, and part of Sumner counties, to vote George McDonald for Tennessee Senate on November 2nd. Let's give him a chance, and if he doesn't do the job we need done, we can always replace him in 2014.

P.S. In regards to today's post, I must say a big thank you to Al "The Father of the Internet" Gore. If it was not for "his" great invention called the internet, the audit report would not have been so readily available. We, the citizens of Tennessee's 17th Senate District, owe him big time. Isn't technology great ?? Thanks Al !!
Al Gore's Hearing on Global Warming
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