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KS: Candidates fail to file finance reports; fines have reached their limits

By   /   September 17, 2012  /   No Comments

Allan Rothlisberg failed to submit campaign-finance reports after the July 30 deadline, before the August primaries. Elliot Lahn failed to file as well.

By Travis Perry │ Kansas Watchdog

OSAWATOMIE — The candidates vying for a seat in the Kansas Legislature have submitted campaign finance reports to the Kansas Governmental Ethics Commission, as is required by law.

Except for two of them — Republicans Allan Rothlisberg and Elliot Lahn.

Rothlisberg and Lahn are the lone two in a field of 400 Kansas House and Senate candidates who failed to submit campaign-finance reports after the July 30 deadline, before the August primaries.

Rothlisberg of Grandview Plaza is seeking to represent the 65th House District. Lahn, of Olathe, was defeated in the primary for the 15th House District.

Carol Williams, executive director of the Kansas Governmental Ethics Commission, said a few late submissions aren’t uncommon.

But this is.

Elliot Lahn

“The purpose of (the reports) is to just provide transparency,” Williams said. “This late date is atypical; we normally have full compliance within 10 to 12 days (after the deadline).”

Campaign-finance report due dates were set before January and updated in February, giving all candidates ample time to prepare the necessary information. Once a candidate has missed a filing deadline, Williams said, notices are sent by certified mail and require a signature upon receipt. Fifteen days after the notice has been mailed — regardless of whether it has been received — the commission assesses a $10 per day fine, capped at $300.

Both candidates have maxed out the fine.

“I’ve been busy, I belong to quite a few different organizations,” Rothlisberg said Monday. “There’s no real excuse, but it will be out today.”

Lahn could not be reached for comment Monday.

Carol Williams

“It’s troubling to me that we have a candidate on the general election ballot and the public still doesn’t know the amount of money they’ve raised, who they’ve got the money from and how that money was spent,” Williams said.

Failure to submit a finance report will not prevent a candidate from appearing on the ballot, but Williams said if the candidates fail to pay they will not be allowed to file for re-election.

Contact Travis Perry at travis@kansaswatchdog.org, or follow him on twitter at @kansaswatchdog.

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Travis Perry is an investigative reporter covering news and politics for Watchdog.org's Kansas bureau. Before joining the organization, Travis graduated cum laude from Washburn University and cut his teeth as news editor for the Osawatomie Graphic, where he received numerous awards from the Kansas Press Association.

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