Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Levy Vote Yes Committee Campaign Violations Part II

It turns out that sometime after 3:15 on Friday, October 25, 2013, Committee for VOTE's co-Treasurer, Mary Scholz dashed into the South Washington County District Service Center and delivered the 10-day Campaign Finance Report.  After two emails to SWC833's Communications Director, Barb Brown, the CFR was emailed to me late Tuesday morning.

I also received notice from the Administrative Law Judge who is currently reviewing the case to decide if enough evidence has been given to move the matter to a Probable Cause hearing (via telephone).  Due to the fact that Committee for Vote miraculously filed the CFR at the last minute on Friday,  I have moved to withdraw two charges against Committee for Vote:
 "1.       Failure to file a Campaign Finance Report ten days prior to the general election. (211A.02)2.       Failure to report additional expenditures: print and online advertising (, Woodbury Bulletin, South Washington County Bulletin newspapers and approximate cost $1440.00.  (211A.02)"
However, I stand by the other charges.

A few items to note on the 10 Day report:

It would seem that Mary Scholz once again missed an important line - "Project Title or Description" is left blank.  Perhaps that was intentional because Ms. Scholz was confused about exactly what she reporting in this section (it's starting to look like Ms. Scholz wasn't given any training on CFRs)?  It looks like she may have been using this area to itemize donations over $100, but it's hard to tell for sure: "Name and Address of Recipient" leads one to believe that the Committee for Vote spent $2500 for Advertising with Kraus Anderson and $2500 for Promotion with the Principals Association.  However, given the amount of money listed in the "Contributions" section, it is more likely that these two organizations would have donated to Committee for Vote and Mary Scholz, in her hurry to file before the 4:30pm close of the DSC on Friday, October 25, 2013, failed to properly fill out the CFR. Again.

Looking closer at the contributions (if that is what these are) and the organizations, it is also important to note that Kraus-Anderson is one of the largest construction firms in the state, and is more than likely the company that will benefit the most by Question 3 - the bond levy - and part of Question 2 - "Safe Schools - passing because it is likely that Kraus-Anderson will be awarded the construction contracts, since it was the company that was awarded the last major construction contract in South Washington County - the $90 million East Ridge High School.

Furthermore, "Principals Assoc," probably is short for "South Washington County Principals Association" which is the formal way of saying "Principals' Union."  "DSC" stands for "District Service Center." Amazing! The Principals Assoc has the same address as the District Service Center.  No wonder the union would want to contribute $2500 to the levy campaign - they probably owe that much for their office space in the DSC...that is paid for by taxpayers...and who else will benefit by a levy passing?  That's right, the principals - when they go to negotiate their contracts they can point to the levy increase (which, by the way, all goes into the District's GENERAL FUND) and say, "We supported the levy increase! You got the levy increase! So give us raises!" Guess what else?  The school principals pay dues to the union.  It was union dues that paid the Committee for Vote $2500 to convince taxpayers that the district needs more of their hard-earned money.  Where does the principals' dues come from?  Out of their paychecks.  How are their paychecks funded? BY THE TAXPAYERS.  Any more questions?

In the Woodbury Bulletin article about the complaint against Committee For Vote, Winnie Williams is quoted:
"....she has talked to people involved in past pro-school levy campaigns and they don’t recall a similar level of scrutiny paid to their activities. 'I don’t know where it comes from,' Williams said."
Gee, Winnie, I wonder???

Updated 4:04pm October 30, 2013

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