Election board passes PAC’s legality to state
Kaitlyn Clay, Staff Writer, [email protected]
The Harrison County Election Board met last week for a second time to address a mailer many Harrison County residents received on or around May 20. The flyer was regarding Aaron Haggard’s campaign for the District 2 county commissioner seat as the Republican candidate, in which it encouraged voters not to elect Haggard. The flyer was paid for by an alleged PAC under the name Conservative Republicans Against Pretend Republicans.
The first meeting on May 28 was to address a complaint filed by Haggard with the election board stating he believed the political postcard was “illegal and with false information attempting to (sway) voters.” He also wrote in his complaint that he had spoken with the Harrison County Clerk’s Office and the Indiana Election Division to find out if a PAC was established by this group and was told that no files existed.
In attendance at that election board meeting was Larry Shickles, who previously served as the Republican party chair for the county as well as the district. Shickles presented paperwork he said was filed with the Indiana Election Division for the organization of the PAC. Shickles is registered as the chairperson, as well as the treasurer for said PAC. He said he filed the PAC on May 27.
Under law, a PAC must register with the FEC within 10 days of its formation, providing name and address for the PAC, its treasurer and any connected organizations.
The Harrison County Election Board determined the only issue concerning the board in Haggard’s original complaint is that if the PAC is legitimate and registered with the Indiana Election Division.
However, on May 28, the same day as the election board’s first meeting, board member Susie Weigle, representing the Democrats, received an email from Matthew Kochevar, co-general counsel of the Indiana Election Division, stating that the PAC had attempted to file its organization form, a CFA-2, but it was not accepted because it did not designate a treasurer properly. One regulation for a PAC to be approved is that the chairperson and the treasurer on the form must be different people, but they were not on the Conservative Republican group’s filing.
Shickles addressed this issue, saying the group had resubmitted its filing with the proper treasurer filled out for the PAC.
Ultimately, the local election board agreed that during the mandatory meeting 10 days after the June 2 election that this issue would be added to the agenda. Board members agreed that the filed PAC for Conservative Republicans Against Pretend Republicans would need to appear on the Indiana PAC listings by then.
However, at the election board meeting Friday afternoon, no filing for this PAC appeared on the FEC site.
Attending the meeting was Corydon attorney Gordon Ingle, who said he had email correspondence with Kochevar from that morning. Replying to Ingle, Kochevar had stated he had “checked with one of our campaign finance staff and this committee has not filed a CFA-2 with us.”
Shickles, who was also at Friday’s meeting, still contended the organization was legitimate, showing a copy of the form he filed with the state.
The election board decided this matter required further questioning and forwarded Haggard’s initial complaint to the state election division, which will decide whether to conduct an investigation regarding the matter.
As of yesterday morning (Tuesday), according to Kochevar, no PAC for Conservative Republicans Against Pretend Republicans has yet to be filed.