After a crazy week of receiving, analyzing and posting PDFs of city election campaign finance reports from candidates and PACs, we are ending the week shaking our head at those who didn't bother to follow state law and get them in on time on Tuesday, April 30.
Leading that pack is mayoral candidate Chokwe Lumumba, who still hasn't returned a report in as of our last check with the city clerk's office at 4:45 p.m. today. Reached yesterday by phone, Lumumba seemed surprised at the deadline for the final reporting deadline a week before the primary and said he would get it in. It still wasn't there today, the city clerk's office said. He also thumbed his nose at the reporting requirement for Jan. 31 this year for 2012. He finally gave us a report weeks after the deadline after we keep harassing him about it.
Lumumba's report is only one of the major mayoral candidates who has not filed a report to date.
Our other disappointment on this front is the Jackson 20/20 PAC. After they didn't file a report Tuesday, we called the PAC's attorney Dorsey Carson who told us they didn't have to file because they were a state PAC. We called the secretary of state's office, which confirmed that anyone who contributed to a municipal candidate in the primaries had to file by April 30. Carson then told us treasurer Michael Lewis would file the report "ASAP."
But as of today, it still wasn't filed. When reached by phone, Lewis said he's been busy and hadn't "gotten around to it." When asked when he was going to do it because it was due last Tuesday, he said, "probably at my earliest convenience. I just can't stop on a dime (and do it). I know a lot of folks are interested ... I'll get to it at my earliest convenience. Maybe around Monday."
When pressed on the need to file campaign-finance reports before the day before election so folks have time to examine them, Lewis said he would take photos of what he has so far and send it to us. He texted me the following two images of an unfiled report, which does not include a list of receipts from donors. It does include one disbursement—$250 to City Council candidate De'Keither Stamps, whom the PAC endorsed last Monday, along with Kevin Lavine, who is running for mayor of Byram, and Joseph Kendrick, running for mayor of Terry. The report does not show that Lavine and Kendrick have gotten any money, yet, from the PAC, which the reports says has $4,548.63 on hand. The PAC raised $25,925 in 2012 and paid most of it to candidate Jonathan Lee's campaign advisers.
Following is the full list of candidates that we do not show have filed a campaign-finance report less than four days before voting starts. If they raised or spent any money, we should have a report. (If your name is in the Hall of Shame and you have filed a report, get us a copy and we'll post it and apologize to you!)
Mayor Chokwe Lumumba John H. Jones Jr.
Ward 1 Quentin Whitwell (running unopposed; may not have raised money)
Ward 2 Stacey Webb
Ward 3 Harrison Michael II Albert Wilson
Ward 4 Barron Banks Dorothy Benford Jerry Lindsey Kourtney Paige Dexter Robinson
Ward 5 Bettye Dagner-Cook Cortinthian Sanders Courtney Walker
Ward 6 Sylvester McDonald
Council candidate Melvin Priester Jr. gets a gold star for also filing a 48-hour report this week, which all candidates who have received any money since Tuesday are supposed to do. Should we assume he is the only one who raised money since Tuesday? Right. (Update: Mayor Harvey Johnson and Margaret Barrett-Simon filed 48-hour reports as well.)
Also, we must give a major shout-out to Deputy City Clerk Ashley Drummer who has PDF'd and sent us the campaign reports as they've come in. She gets the Sunshine Hero of the Year Award for 2013 so far.
P.S. This stuff is important, folks. It is not personal that we are watchdogs of campaign transparency. The laws are there to help the voters make educated choices. When you do not file a report, you are in violation of the law. It ain't cool.
All reports we have received are up as PDFs at jfp.ms/documents
UPDATE, 8 p.m., Friday:
Margaret Barrett-Simon sent us camera-photos of her report that she filed Tuesday. We'll get and post the PDF of it on Monday. Others are welcome to do the same if yours is missing. Here are hers: