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Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Woodard: Election paperwork was sent, but not received

Posted by on Tue, May 1, 2012 at 1:55 PM

Mike Woodard
  • Mike Woodard
Durham City Councilman Mike Woodard, a candidate for N.C. Senate District 22, responded today to claims from competitor Kerry Sutton that he has not filed appropriate forms with the N.C. Ethics Commission and State Board of Elections.

Woodard says he learned Friday that the stack of forms he says he sent Feb. 22, within the required 10-day period, had not been received by those offices.

"I mailed them. They didn't receive them. It's my responsibility to get them in, and I'm going to take care of that today," Woodard said.

The commission needs a Statement of Economic Interest and the SBOE needs a Statement of Organization, which includes a treasurer's name and bank information.

Woodard, when contacted by the Indy, said he was on his way to Raleigh to meet with officials and make sure they have all of his paperwork.

Sutton's full press release is below:

FOR RELEASE

Kerry Sutton Committee

DATE: Tuesday, May 1

Woodard also failed to provide mandatory Statement of Economic Interest State Senate candidate Mike Woodard has failed to comply with ethics rules that require all candidates for the General Assembly to provide important economic disclosure forms.

Woodard, who already faces questions about not following State Elections Board laws, was required to submit a Statement of Economic Interest to the North Carolina State Ethics Commission within 10 days of filing as a candidate. He filed to run on Feb. 15. Today, State Ethics Commission staff confirmed they have no record of Woodard's required Statement of Economic Interest.

A candidate's failure to comply with such requirements can lead to serious penalties. The State Ethics Board can fine a candidate $250 as a civil penalty. Criminal penalties also can be enforced if a candidate is found to have provided false information.

The Statement of Economic Interest was put into law five years ago to prevent candidates and public servants from potential conflicts of interest. A simple online records check at the State Ethics Commission website shows Woodard is not in compliance.

Woodard faces Kerry Sutton in the Democratic primary for the state Senate seat representing District 22, which includes part of Durham and all of Caswell and Person Counties.

News of Woodard's failure to comply with ethics laws comes a day after the State Board of Elections confirmed he's also failed to provide information legally required of all candidates seeking state office. Elections officials said they have attempted to alert Woodard of his non-compliance, but have never gotten a response from the candidate.

It was also a routine public records check that revealed Woodard's failure to comply with the elections laws. While the missing information at the Board of Elections is important, it's also considered basic for all candidates. For instance, all candidates are required to file a standard Statement of Organization and to certify a treasurer and financial account information before accepting contributions or using them for campaign expenses. That information for Woodard has not been filed. Moreover, the board has no record of Woodard filing a mandatory financial disclosure report of all contributions and expenditures within 10 days of his February filing to challenge Sutton.

Board of Elections penalties can force a candidate to forfeit all campaign contributions and to pay a civil penalty of as much as three times the total of those contributions.

Evidence of Woodard's spending is not difficult to find. His campaign has posted hundreds of yard signs throughout the district. Late last week, the Woodard campaign mass-mailed a postcard imprinted with the words: "Paid for by The Committee to Elect Mike Woodard." Woodard also spent $207 as a standard filing fee.

On Monday, Sutton delivered a letter asking the State Board of Elections to look into the matter. Officials at the elections office in Raleigh said they were already aware of Woodard's non-compliance.

It's not the first time Woodard has violated election finance laws. He was cited in 2010 for not providing timely and accurate information about contributions and expenditures for his campaign for Durham City Council.

Sutton and Woodward face one another in the Democratic primary for the District 22 Senate seat. Early voting began April 19 and ends May 5. Election Day is May 8.
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