Published: 01/31/2022 19:39:36
Modified: 01/31/2022 19:38:07
EASTHAMPTON — A former candidate for mayor of the city has been fined for failing to submit a year-end campaign finance disclosure report to the state’s Office of Campaign and Political Finance.
The State Office issued a civil penalty notice to Keith Routhier on Friday, Jan. 21, stating that he missed the Jan. 20 deadline to file a campaign finance disclosure report and would be sentenced to a fine of $25 per day for each day the report is late.
“The daily sentence will continue to be imposed until this report is filed,” the letter said.
Fines can add up to $5,000, according to Jason Tait, director of education and communications for the office of campaigns and political finance.
Routhier ran for mayor last year. He appeared on the ballot alongside Eric Berzins and Mayor Nicole LaChapelle, who won with 67.8% of the vote. Written candidate Donald Torrey came in second, winning about 20% of the vote.
“End of year report cards are required for all candidates who are organized with the OCPF, whether they have won or not. They are due every January 20 and contain a summary of the year’s activity,” Tait said. “After a report is filed, the OCPF Director may consider waiving a fine, in whole or in part. Applicants may also be referred to the state attorney general for failing to file a case.
Both LaChapelle and Torrey submitted their reports to the state office detailing campaign activity receipts and expenses on time. Berzins also received a civil penalty notice for failing to meet the filing deadline, but a Jan. 25 letter from the office of campaign and political finance says he has no outstanding liabilities or assets. However, he was fined $25 for missing the deadline.
In an interview Friday, Routhier said he didn’t know he had to file a report and expressed gratitude for alerting him to the notice.
Tait said the Office of Campaigns and Political Finance has asked city clerks to refer their new mayoral candidates to the state office, so the candidate can get organized before raising or spending money. .
Easthampton City Clerk Barbara LaBombard said once a mayoral candidate has the nomination papers out and hands in the required number of signatures to be on the ballot, she sends a letter reminder that she will have a campaign financial return due. She also noted that she provides a link to the reporting form as well as a link to the Campaign and Political Finance Office website, which has several how-to videos. At the end of December, LaBombard sends another reminder, she said.
Although Tait said there are no statistics available on how often applicants do not file, the 2021 year-end non-filers list is available at ocpf.us/Reports/ NoFilerList. The list includes nearly 30 names of those who applied for lawmaking and more than 60 names of those who applied for city council or mayor positions who did not file campaign finance returns.
Emily Thurlow can be contacted at [email protected]