Tri States Public Radio Staff
Thu December 15, 2005
Iowa Ethics Board Still Investigating in Southeast Iowa
Keokuk, IA – The Lee County Democratic Central Committee still faces possible penalties for inaccurate campaign finance disclosures. The committee is accused of failing to file accurate financial reports in October of last year and January of this year. The Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board's Executive Director, Charlie Smithson, says the reports showed the Central Committee spent and received no money during the last 6 months of 2004. The organization eventually amended its reports to show money was spent, during that time, on campaign advertisements. Smithson says the Central Committee is doing an internal audit of its records to make sure there are no other issues. He says the settlement could include civil penalties, such as a fine.
In another case, Smithson says the ethics board has asked him to investigate a complaint from an out-going Burlington city council member about a web site. Smithson says Chris King raised an issue about the "blog" www.burlingtonderailed.com because it advocated for candidates without a "paid for by" attribution attached. Smithson is looking into whether "blog" web sites can be regulated or whether free speech takes precedent.