Mystery cash

Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick is again in hot water over the nasty little issue of campaign-finance law. You may remember things heated up last year when the Wayne County clerk issued a report to Kilpatrick detailing “errors and omissions” in the handwritten pre-primary report, which lacked such basic information as the addresses and employers of contributors. The report also included contributions from out-of-state political action committees, which aren’t allowed. The notice gave Kilpatrick 90 days to respond. Well, he hasn’t, so the clerk turned the matter over to Wayne County Prosecutor Mike Duggan and Attorney General Jennifer Granholm, as prescribed by law. County Clerk Cathy Garrett didn’t return calls on the matter, as is her practice with the media, but a county elections official who asked to remain anonymous said it isn’t unusual for politicians to turn in incomplete reports. Maybe, but News Hits has trouble recollecting a report from a major candidate as incomplete as the one turned in by Kilpatrick.

Even so, the source in the Clerk’s Office said legal action is unlikely, as the violation is considered minor in the scheme of things.

We disagree. Employers often bundle contributions, using any number of top executives to give to a particular candidate. But if said candidate fails to disclose who those employers are, then the task becomes significantly more complicated for anyone looking for a connection between campaign cash and favors such as the awarding of lucrative government contracts.

According to Kilpatrick’s office, the mayor’s people are hustling to fill in the blanks.

“We are working right now on responding to the errors and omissions report,” said spokesperson Shannon McCarthy on Monday. “We are working on filing a complete and compliant report as soon as possible.”

The mayor also has some overdue state paperwork. State election officials have issued notices of errors and omissions for two separate finance reports from the 2000 election, when Kilpatrick successfully ran for the state House. In addition, the state fined Kilpatrick $1,000 for failing to turn in an annual report for 2001, due Jan. 31. Liz Boyd, spokeswoman for the Secretary of State, said Kilpatrick’s failure to turn in the annual report places him in a group of only 3 percent to 5 percent of state politicians who misbehave similarly.

Lisa M. Collins is a Metro Times staff writer. E-mail [email protected]
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