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Campaign finance fines dealt by election board

The Harrison County Election Board levied a number of fines Friday afternoon related to campaign finance issues for candidates, or former candidates, for office.
Franklin Township Trustee John (Bill) Lyskowinski turned in his campaign finance form to the clerk’s office five days late, and, according to state law, was assessed a fine of $50 per day.
The election board has the ability to reduce the fine but not do away with it all together. The board dropped the fine owed by Lyskowinski to $125 (plus a $25 administration fee).
After receiving a letter stating he was delinquent, Lyskowinski said employees at the clerk’s office told him he only needed to put the dates on the form and didn’t say anything about being late.
‘If you all don’t know what’s going on, how am I supposed to?’ he asked.
‘What if I don’t want to pay it?’
If it is not paid, board member Larry Shickels said, then the fine goes back to the original amount before the reduction, which would be $250 for Lyskowinski and it could be placed on any property owned by the delinquent person.
Lyskowinski said he thought the clerk’s office or election board should notify the candidate before they become delinquent and he called the election calendar ‘confusing.’
Edith Richards, another board member, said the election board had training for candidates so they could better understand campaign finance and its rules and deadlines.
‘A lot of people came,’ she said of the two-hour training session.
Harrison County Clerk Sally Whitis said each candidate has to follow the same rules.
After Lyskowinski asked, the board explained how members of the election board are selected. The county clerk is automatically on the board, then both county political parties appoint a member. Currently, Richards is the Democrat appointee and Shickels is the Republican appointee.
‘Do you have to live in the county?’ Lyskowinski asked.
The board said members must be registered to vote in the county.
Former Jackson Township Trustee candidate Jeremy Zabel, who lost the May Primary to incumbent Joe Martin, failed to turn in an expense report for his campaign, a fine of $1,000.
Zabel said he didn’t spend anything on his campaign and did not attend the candidate campaign finance workshop. The election board reduced the fine to the minimum of $275.
Steven E. Smith, Posey Township Trustee who is unopposed, also received a fine of $1,000 which was reduced to $275. Smith said when he filed to run for office, he left under the impression that everything was fine.
‘They said I was fine,’ he said. ‘Apparently, I wasn’t.’
Smith said the only money he’ll have in his campaign will be for the fine.
Richards reminded him that even if no money is spent, a report has to be filed and zeroed out.
A Political Action Committee, called Partners in Education, was also fined for a late report. The PAC was created in support of the referendum for the Lanesville Community School Corp. Since it was the first instance of dealing with a PAC and the representatives of the PAC ‘ Steve Morris and Ellen Stone ‘ were unaware of the requirements, the election board decided to waive the $250 fine. The PAC will have to pay a $25 administration fee. A balance of $107 in the PAC account, after the fee is paid, will be donated to the Lanesville ELF fund.
Other fines ‘ ranging from $75 to $175 ‘ to candidates or former candidates who did not attend the meeting were handed down to Jim Klinstiver, Mark Stewart, Roger Wooten and Susie Flock Weigle.

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