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Monday, July 19, 2010

Hill's campaign finance violations chalked up to human error; corrected reports expected Tuesday

Posted by on Mon, Jul 19, 2010 at 11:16 AM

Durham County Sheriff Worth Hill
  • Durham County Sheriff Worth Hill

Sheriff Worth Hill's re-election campaign treasurer has been asked to submit amended campaign finance reports to Durham's Board of Elections after a Republican group pointed out Hill's past two reports omitted the identities of people who contributed thousands of dollars to his campaign.

Donald Baker, Hill's campaign treasurer for the past 16 years, said the errors were due to human oversight when contacted by the Indy early Monday.

"This is getting ridiculous," Baker said, when contacted. "I’m trying to correct this report right now, and I’m on the phone with a news reporter."

The errors were pointed out late Friday in a letter from the Triangle West Young Republicans to Durham elections Director Mike Ashe. (PDF)

According to the letter, Hill's first-quarter finance report (PDF) lists 34 contributions of $100, but doesn't include other required information: the name, address and occupation of the contributor. (There also is a contribution of $99 that is missing that information, according to the Indy's review.) The same information was omitted for 14 in Hill's second-quarter report (PDF), which was filed last week, the letter said. (The report actually shows 15 contributions without the proper information).

Finance law requires that any contribution of $50.01 or more must be listed in campaign finance reports with the name, address and occupation of the contributor, Ashe said. The law changed in January 2007. Previously, only amounts greater than $100 required that identifying information, Ashe said.

This is Hill's first fundraising period since the law changed. Baker said the error was not intentional, but because he didn't realize the law had changed. The forms that Baker filled out, however, state at the top that amounts over $50 need to be reported.

(This paragraph has been amended). Ashe said he believed the oversight on Baker's part was due to human error, and also stated his he or his staff at the Board of Elections should have caught the mistake. Ashe was out of the office for several weeks this year due to personal injury. When asked whether his absence could have contributed to the error, Ashe stated he was responsible for the Board of Elections even during his recovery, and takes full blame for the mistake.

Ashe said he has spoken to Baker, and expects the amended reports Tuesday.

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