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Now browsing: Hometown News > Opinion > Volusia County

Letters to the editor
Rating: 3.1 / 5 (31 votes)  
Posted: 2012 Sep 14 - 00:16

Fishy tales enjoyed

Many authors will generally write either fiction or non-fiction, but not both. Dan Smith, however, is an exception. Each week in the Hometown News, he writes two columns; one fishin' and one non-fishin'.

Frank Sterbenz, Ormond Beach

Please follow election laws

Editor's note: The Republican Executive Committee of Volusia County was invited to respond to this letter, but did not.

Election laws exist for a reason. There is a need to track or monitor campaign finances and voters have the right to transparency, such as the right to know who gave what to whom, when, and how.

"By Florida law, campaigns and political committees are required to disclose detailed financial records of campaign contributions and expenditures. A "committee" is generally a combination of two or more individuals or an organization which contributes more than $500 in the aggregate in a calendar year to any candidate or political party, or which accepts contributions during a calendar year in an aggregate amount in excess of $500; or expressly advocates the election or defeat of a candidate or issue and makes expenditures of more than $500 in the aggregate during a calendar year."

Note that a contribution or expenditure does not have to be "monetary". Under Florida election laws any "In-Kind" donation to a campaign or committee must be given a fair market value and reported.

Since its inception many decades ago, the Volusia County Democratic Party has followed election laws, which include very strict reporting requirements. All four Democratic clubs chartered by the Volusia County Democratic Party are properly registered as Political Committees and are following election laws by submitting the required campaign financial reports.

It should be noted that the fines for failing to report or filing late can be quite substantial - In fact, last March the Volusia County Republican Party was fined $600 for late filing.

The local Republican Party website (volusiacountyrepublicans.org) lists the following Republican clubs;

. Republican Club of Daytona Beach

. Republican Club of Ormond Beach

. Republican Club of Southeast Volusia

. Republican Club of Spruce Creek

. Republican Tricity Club of Volusia

. Republican Club of West Volusia

. Atlantic Federated Republican Women

. Greater Volusia Young Republicans

. Volusia County Republican Assembly

We attempted to collect the names of the local Tea Party groups but we quickly lost count.

Just like our Democratic Clubs, most of these organizations if not all have websites, solicit and collect contributions and have expenditures. At least four have rented campaign headquarters.

But, unlike our Democratic Clubs, finding any campaign financial report on any of these clubs or groups is difficult... in fact impossible. Just as we did in previous elections, we attempted to find Political Committee filings and Treasurer's Reports from any of these organizations with no success.

While somewhat recently eroded by a Supreme Court Ruling, Election Laws still provide some level playing field for all parties involved. But, when one party does not follow election law that "level playing field" is unjustly tipped to one side.

The time has come for all Volusia County conservative groups involved in influencing elections to step out of the shadows and begin disclosing revenue and expenditures, in compliance with the law like their Democratic counterparts.

Phil Giorno,

Chairman, Volusia County Democratic Party

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