Campaign finance office seeks reimbursement of donations | News

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NEWBURYPORT — The state’s Campaign Finance Office auditor gave Mayor-elect Sean Reardon’s campaign until Tuesday to return two donations over the regulated limit and provide more information on 28 qualifying campaign expenses. d “ineligible” by the auditor for payment with campaign funds.

The campaign to elect Reardon’s challenger, Charlie Tontar, also received a letter from the auditor regarding an over-the-limit donation, but that was resolved by the Dec. 3 deadline, according to the state.

The Dec. 7 letter from Shane Slater, director of auditing at the state’s Office of Campaign and Political Finance, asks Reardon’s campaign to address two issues.

In the first, the campaign is to reimburse $100 to contributor Joshua Baumfeld, a Newburyport resident and doctor, and $200 to Thomas Tierney, listed as a Newburyport resident and property manager. Both men donated to Reardon’s campaign for mayor but gave more than the $1,000 limit in a calendar year.

The campaign finance office said Baumfeld donated $100 on Jan. 1 and $1,000 on Oct. 19, exceeding the $1,000 limit. Tierney donated $200 on Jan. 26, $100 on Oct. 19, and $900, also on Oct. 19, for a total of $1,200 for the calendar year.

Brianna Sullivan, treasurer of the Reardon campaign, said in an email to the Daily News on Friday: “These overpayments are being refunded. This is not an uncommon occurrence, as you may know from learning about the documents filed with the OCPF by our adversaries. »

The overpayment in the Tontar campaign turned out to be a case where two donations from the Nelson family of Newburyport were attributed to Ted Nelson, listed as a director at Mechanica (for $250 on June 22 and $1,000 on October 14 ), but the $250 donation was made by Jennifer Nelson. A “contribution reallocation” letter was filed by the Tontar campaign with the state’s campaign finance office on Dec. 3.

Reardon’s two campaign reimbursements and a misappropriation in Tontar’s campaign account represent a tiny percentage of the money raised and spent by the two candidates in their mayoral race.

The state campaign filing shows Reardon raised $45,531 and spent $47,973 on the campaign, leaving the account with $1,541.46 as of Nov. 30.

Tontar’s campaign received $48,929 and spent $49,757, but reported $2,619.32 in cash as of November 30.

The second issue raised about Reardon’s campaign by the campaign finance auditor involves approximately $16,000 in expenses for which the bank with Reardon’s campaign account did not provide “sufficient information to determine at who and for what purpose the payments were made”.

The campaign report to the state includes everything from $6.36 spent at Richdale Newburyport to a payment of $1,829.20 to Minuteman Press for postage. The report also includes eight payments for political ads at 1260 North of Boston, which is an account number for North of Boston Media Group in North Andover, the regional group that includes The Daily News.

In response to a question from the Daily News on Friday, Sullivan said, “We are filing clarifications on numerous expenses incurred in the final days before the election as requested by the OCPF.”

She said the bank reports what was spent from the campaign account directly to the state campaign office, “but often the OCPF cannot determine who the seller is or what the purpose of the expenditure was.”

As treasurer, Sullivan said she would log into the OCPF website “and provide an explanation of who the vendor is (if needed) and the campaign purpose of the purchase/spend. I have already reviewed the expenses with Mr. Reardon’s campaign manager and just need to close this issue by entering the information into the OCPF reporting system We have been in close communication with the OCPF about our expected timeline to complete these items.”

She said the campaign is also working on its year-end report “to file it in a timely manner and remain in good standing with the OCPF.”

Although the two candidates raised and spent a total of nearly $100,000 in the Newburyport mayoral race, Amesbury’s mayoral campaign brought in significantly more combined.

Incumbent Mayor Kassandra Gove has raised $36,071 and spent $26,885 on her successful re-election campaign, with $10,567 in her campaign account as of Nov. 30, according to state filings.

His challenger, State Rep. James Kelcourse, received $100,468 for his campaign and spent $92,232, with $15,585 in cash as of Nov. 30.

The total raised between the two campaign organizations was $136,539, with expenses totaling $119,117.

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