I heard late last night that the state Ethics Commission had negotiated a settlement to a complaint about discrepancies in campaign finance reports filed in the last Little Rock School Board election by incumbent Michael Daugherty, who was re-elected after a runoff contest against Anna Swaim. The complaint was filed by Bob Powers, a district parent who has been a prominent critic of Daugherty and other black members of the board since the movement began to remove Roy Brooks as superintendent. Powers opposed Daugherty’s re-election.
The complaint was settled by a letter of caution and a $150 fine. An article about the settlement, based on documents provided by Powers, appeared on Page One of the Democrat-Gazette this morning. Daugherty failed to include the occupations of several contributors, omitted dates on the reporting period covered and inaccurately reported contributions on two reports.
I wrote Daugherty about it last night, but didn’t check for his response until this morning. He’s promised to fax me the relevant documents. He also gave me this comment by e-mail:
The allegations were not unique to my filings, but it appears the complainant was more concerned with disparaging the volunteers of my campaign and me than he was with any other.
Unfortunately, we had inexperienced people working in certain areas and some mistakes were made during the reporting periods. The reports were corrected and amendments filed as with my opponent and many other candidates vying for office. However, the commission chose to take issue with my cases and ultimately proposed an “Offer of Settlement” that provided my campaign the opportunity to settle the three combined cases without an admission of guilt and the imposition of a $150 fine. Based on the advice of counsel and the cost of litigation, it was recommended that I, as head of the campaign, accept the proposed offer. Consequently, the offer was accepted and the fine was paid using personal monies not related to any campaign contributions.