Baker over-reports by $274k

We got a tip earlier in the evening telling us to take a closer look at Thurbert Baker’s contribution disclosure. It turns out that his campaign reported 115 contributions totaling $274,305 (cash and in-kind) from 7/1 to 7/7. The reporting period ended on June 30th.

You can see it for yourself here.

[UPDATE] This was noted by the AJC this morning.

50 comments

  1. If the primaries were TODAY, I’d probably take a Dem ballot this time and vote for Baker. I was thinking that would be a “protest vote”, but perhaps not. We’ll see what happens over the next year and a half.

  2. Jeff says:

    BTW: This comment was put up on SWGAPolitics.com last night, thought the PP community might find it interesting. Poster calls himself ‘RJ’:

    Considering that Matt Towery’s online rag tried to carry the water for Roy on this matter this morning and it didn’t go anywhere, it doesn’t look like an issue. The quote from the guy who runs the Georgia ethics commission is below, and a link to the story.

    Quote:

    Rick Thompson, executive director of the State Ethics Commission, said there is nothing wrong with Baker’s approach.

    “There is a specific cutoff you have to include – through June 30. But there is no prohibition against over-disclosing,” he said.

    “The perception of padding? That’s a political stragey. The ethics commission is here to ensure transparency. The more information that’s out there, the better it is for everybody.”

    Link:

    http://www.insideradvantagegeorgia.com/restricted/2009/July%2009/7-8-09/Baker_Padding7819655.php

    • Dash Riptide says:

      He’s not over-representing. He’s over-disclosing. The money is real and the fact that Baker has raised it is relevant. The only question is whether Baker’s fund-raising lead would look less impressive if the other candidates had also reported their totals through July 7. I’m thinking not. It would be very bad strategy for other candidates to try to make hay out of this, because it only helps Baker. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if these checks were deliberately delayed until after June 30 just to coax empty criticism. They might as well accuse Baker of being too tough on crime while they’re at it. Personally, I’m impressed. Good on ya, Baker.

      • Jason Pye says:

        I doubt you’ll see any campaigns make an issue out of it.

        Personally, I like Baker, but I do think he did it on purpose to inflate his numbers considering that this represents a significant chunk of his total money raised.

        • Dash Riptide says:

          Do you really think this is money that Baker couldn’t have gotten his hands on in June if he wanted?

          • Dash Riptide says:

            That could be spun as dishonest, too. Do you think it is a just coincidence that Baker (and probably other candidates) got a flood of contributions right after the last reporting period ended? Could it be that Baker didn’t want even the appearance of evasiveness imputed to him?

          • Jason Pye says:

            Every candidate sent out e-mail towards the 6/30 deadline wanting to show good numbers. How many besides Baker included donations that came in after the filing deadline?

  3. Icarus says:

    While I understand the point Jason is making, you’ve got to look at the quote from Mr. Thompson at the ethics commission to understand why this isn’t a problem. In fact, it should be applauded.

    Taking away the tunnel vision of a political consultant, the whole reason these disclosures exist isn’t so campaigns can have bragging rights or prepare audited financial statements for the quarter ended June 30th. The point is the timely disclosure of who is giving money and possibly attempting to buy influence (or positive comments on Peach Pundit).

    Baker’s over disclosing is actually a plus within the spirit of the law as it is intended, and runs into no problems as it is written.

    • Doug Deal says:

      Ick,

      The point is the timely disclosure of who is giving money and possibly attempting to buy influence (or positive comments on Peach Pundit).

      How dare you lay this personal attack on the Ox‘s bought and paid for lapdog.

  4. Jeff says:

    My own issue with this is simple: The rules were that this disclosure was for things done between January 1, 2009 and June 30, 2009 (inclusive).

    Baker reporting things that happened between July 1, 2009 and July 7, 2009 may or may not be a good thing in and of itself, but it IS breaking the rules that every other campaign (so far as I know right now) held to.

    Again: NOTHING illegal about it, and I am not suggesting otherwise unless I get concrete evidence.

    But is it really too much to ask of people to play within the rules?

    • Bill Simon says:

      C’mon, Jeff…YOU can do better than that!

      Here, let me help you: “Thurbert Baker is LYING!!!!!!!!!!!!! He’s a LIAR!!! He’s just like every other candidate who is NOT a Libertarian! Baker is LYING!!!”

      Get on the stick, Jeff. You’re turning into a milquetoast political commentator.

  5. drjay says:

    i think these rules could be interpreted as the bare minimum necesary–i do not think (i suppose i could be wrong) there is any prohibition of reporting numbers monthly if a campaign was so inclined–i have to have 40 hours of c.e. credit to renew my license if i submit 60 hrs i have not broken any rules–therefore saying we had these checks too and went ahead and included them is not breaking the rules–or even the spirit of them

    • Jeff says:

      drjay:

      The deadline is June 30 – not July 7. That everyone is technically breaking the rules by employing the full grace period and waiting until July 7 to report is beside the point. The deadline IS June 30, and even if you wait until July 7 to report, said report should only include contributions made prior to June 30.

      • drjay says:

        again my instinct is that there is no prohibition on it–now if they left off a weeks worth of donations that would be a violation–but i think it’s reasonable to assume adding a week is no biggy…i get that he did it to pump his numbers up a little and all that but that is another point entirely…

  6. GOPGeorgia says:

    The question is, when he files his end of the year disclosures, does he start from July 8? I know he shouldn’t report the contributions twice, and adding on to the year to date contributions that are filed on this report. Does he have any contributions from July 1 to July 7 that are not showing on this report?

    I know he wanted to show how much money he raised, but what he has shown is that he can’t follow the instructions for filing disclosures. He could have just issued a press release stating that in the first 7 days of July, yada yada yada. It tells me that he can’t color inside the lines. It tells me that he has his own disclosure guidelines and everyone else has another. It tells me that if he is Gov., he might take the attitude of “I know all of you hard working people of Georgia are getting ready to file your income tax and send you portion to Georgia. I know it’s for the reporting period of January 1 to December 31, but can you follow my lead and add on another weeks income, for the first 7 days of the new year? That’s the way I file my taxes, and the department of revenue and ethics have no complaints about the way I do it.”

    If I were him, I would file an amended report to show how much money he raised in the same period as everyone else.

    • drjay says:

      o.k. i relent–it does potentially overcomplicate the next report–probably easier to have not included the 1st week of july…

      • B Balz says:

        Good points, but I really believe that ou may be over-reaching. Mind you, I am not a big Thurbert fan, nor do I work for him in any way.

        Heck, you even caused the good Doc to relent. Shameful. (LOL)

      • griftdrift says:

        It is. HAH!

        Jason, no disrespect but Icarus summed it up fairly nicely. The bigger fish to fry with disclosure is sussing out possible irregularities in the donations. Not whether you have a coversheet for your TPS reports.

        It’s interesting to bat around for a couple of days, but in a few weeks it won’t matter.

  7. B Balz says:

    Toss this non-issue in the same crap-bin as the other crap about who changed somebodies Wiki entries.

    I know this may seem important to pol ops, but truly over reporting is far less a big deal than under reporting, and NOBODY but a slendor few cares.

    Y’all are gonna make me into a Dem if you keep up this inane gibberish about NADA. Focus on something else, please and thank you.

  8. Doug Deal says:

    I wonder how hard it would be to have real time reporting of campaign financing. Have an online interface where each candidate’s campaign can log in and add entries as they are recieved or spent.

    • I think the IRS would like to talk to you DD about using your idea on earned income. They would love to have a new set of longer claws like this. Imagine the fines they could impose then…

      • Doug Deal says:

        I am actually against campaign finance laws, so I don’t get your point.

        But, if they are going to do it, why do this half-assed report every few months method which has about zero practical enforcement power. Who cares if someone gets fined 6 months after the election is over. Just another bad system of laws that benefit the dishonest and penalize the honest.

        • GOPGeorgia says:

          That’s the exact value of our complaining now. If we can point out, before the election, that some of these people can’t follow the rules or are being dishonest, then our discussions have value.

Comments are closed.