Despite the fact the Recall Mayor Suttle Committee is officially asking for political contributions, the cash behind the recall remains a mystery. And Nebraska Watchdog has learned that according to a spokesman for the recallers that mystery will not be cleared up any time soon.
According to state law, campaign contributions to the recall do not have to be made public until after a date for a recall election is set. In other words the names of those financially backing the recall can remain secret during the time the recallers are circulating petitions, trying to gather the names of nearly 27,000 registered voters in the City of Omaha.
Frank Daley, the Executive Director of the Nebraska Accountability and Disclosure Commission (NADC), tells Nebraska Watchdog the time frame for financial disclosure in a local recall leaves some questions unanswered. “Clearly there’s a gap in information,” said Daley.
That “gap” matters because many political insiders believe if the recallers get the signatures, getting the Mayor-voting him out of office- is a foregone conclusion. A Suttle recall election would find the Mayor in effect running against himself. For starters Suttle would be defending his actions in office to some 27,000 people who have already taken the time to sign the recall petition.
In Omaha if there is recall effort (the committee expects to announce its decision on circulating petitions by the end of September) the first campaign finance report will be due 30 days before the recall election. A follow-up report is due 10 days before the vote. The next report is not due until 40 days after the election.
Daley tells Nebraska Watchdog nothing prevents those behind a recall from disclosing the names of its contributors at any time during the process. But recall spokesman Jeremy Aspen tells Nebraska Watchdog his group has no plans to release the names of those contributing to the recall before the state deadline.
According to Daley the rules for statewide petition drives, which can last several months, are stricter especially when it comes to making public the names of those contributing to the effort. Daley says during referendums and initiatives to change state laws or the Nebraska Constitution, campaign finance reports which list the names of contributors must be filed almost every 30 days.
Editor’s note: to subscribe to News Updates from Nebraska Watchdog at no cost, click here
Editor’s note: to see other Nebraska Watchdog reports on this subject click here.
Reported by Joe Jordan, firstname.lastname@example.org