A committee advocating for passage of the USD 231 bond issue may be in violation of campaign finance laws.
Brett Limer, an individual advocating against the bond issue, said no committee opposing the issue was ever formed. He is self-financing a web site, campaign signs and advertising.
According to Kansas statute, political committee reports are due annually to the Johnson County Election Office. The report is due by Dec. 31, but due to the holiday, the deadline for 2011 committee reports in Johnson County was Jan. 3.
USD 231 Kids Come First committee launched its Facebook page in early November, and the navy-blue and white signs advocating a “yes” vote on a $72 million school bond issue began appearing before the new year.
Brian Newby, Johnson County Election Commissioner, said while committees are required to file reports annually, there is some gray area as to whether the local committee needed to file.
The statute says the annual statement shall be “filed on or before December 31, such statement shall cover the period ending on December 1 immediately preceding.”
So if the group began gathering and spending money after Dec. 1, 2011, they may not have needed to file the report.
“In the interest of transparency, I probably wouldn’t split hairs,” Newby said.
How the statute is interpreted is up to the Johnson County District Attorney’s Office. It’s unlikely the late report would be investigated without a complaint.
When Spring Hill USD 230 passed its bond most recent bond issue in 2011, a citizens group, USD 230 Kids Count, spent $5,233.
John Fuller of the DLR Group, the developers crafting the Spring Hill project, made an in-kind donation of $1,000 in time, postage and resources; Steve Golubski of JE Dunn, construction contractor on the USD 230 project, made an in-kind donation of $1,084 in postage and printing.
The largest cash donor was Roger Morrison. Morrison, who listed a Salina post office box as his address, donated $1,000.
Calls to the Gardner Edgerton School District about the USD 231 Kids Come First committee were directed to Patricia Fabing, a Gardner resident heading the committee. She did not return phone calls.
Ballots for USD 231’s $72 million bond issue are due at the Johnson County Election Office no later than noon on Jan. 31. Ballots can be dropped in person at the office, 2101 E. Kansas City Rd., Olathe. Officials advise mailing ballots no later than Jan. 28.