The Gardner Recall Committee filed a campaign finance report with the Johnson County Election Office at 2:30 p.m. on Jan. 7. The committee – which included
Gardner residents Chuck Clark, Jared Taylor and Ryan Beasley, apologized for the report’s tardiness in an attached letter.
Campaign finance reports for the March 2, 2010 election that saw John Shepherd and Mary Peters ousted from the Gardner City Council were due in the county election office no later than Dec. 31, 2010.
“It was not our intention to not comply with the established date,” the attached letter from Clark, Taylor and Beasley to the election office reads. “However, due to a misunderstanding of financial expectations and the unprecedented nature of a recall campaign instructions were unclear of the filing responsibilities of our committee.”
The committee spent $7,030 during the campaign, with more than $5,820 spent on legal fees related to the recall. Another $1,210 was spent on flyers, banners, shirts and an election party.
Taylor said remaining funds were donated to the food pantry following the election.
“Gardner Recall Committee has made every attempt to follow the campaign finance law as was explained to us and required by law. We believe we have made every attempt to comply by filing our Committee finance report and appreciate the Election Office for the receipt of it,” Taylor said.
He refused to make additional comment.
Though state statute requires it and the county campaign finance form requests it, the report did not detail who or how much individuals contributed to the group.
“We have, to the best of our ability, completed the committee report,” the letter explains. “The Recall Committee did not keep records of contributions made nor were we of the belief we were required. Every attempt to be honest with the total number of receipts and expenditures has been made and listed accordingly.”
Beasley admitted the group did maintain a bank account during the recall.
However, he declined to answer any further questions about why a more detailed accounting could not be made to the election office.
“We talked with the election office and they told us where we needed to file and we filed it,” he said. “I have no comment.”
Carol E. Williams, executive director of the Kansas Governmental Ethics Commission, said knowing who contributed is a key element in campaign finance laws.
“You just need to know who all those people are,” Williams said. “That’s information that should be available and accessible to the citizens… At the local level, they are supposed to keep detailed accounts of all money. They’re supposed to keep all names.”
At press time, the election office still had not received a campaign finance report from supporters of John Shepherd and Mary Peters.
Peters said she had nothing to report.
“John and I made calls and other people made calls,” Peters said. “I had absolutely no expenses in the recall. I don’t think anybody spent any money trying to keep us from getting recalled. I just know I didn’t spend any money, so I have nothing to report.”