October 29, 2008 in Idaho

Sali, Minnick encounter filing snags

FEC challenges late, incomplete reports
Betsy Z. Russell Staff writer
 

BOISE – Idaho Rep. Bill Sali has run into more problems with his Federal Election Commission campaign finance filings.

The freshman congressman’s campaign says the issue will be resolved. Meanwhile, his Democratic challenger, Walt Minnick, also has run into problems with his own FEC filings, though the amounts involved are smaller.

The FEC says Sali failed to file the required reports within 48 hours for a dozen large PAC contributions he received shortly before the primary election. All of the contributions were for $1,000 or more and were received in May.

Contributions of $1,000 or more received within 20 days before an election must be reported within 48 hours; both Sali and Minnick filed numerous such reports in the past two weeks.

“The failure to file 48-hour notices may result in civil money penalties or legal enforcement action,” the FEC warned Sali in a letter. It demanded a response by Nov. 24.

Sali campaign manager Jonathan Parker said at least one of the contributions was reported on a 48-hour report in May. “We are still going through our documents to find the others, but we’re confident those were filed appropriately as well,” Parker said.

Among the contributions for which the FEC said notices were missing was $3,000 from the National Crystal Sugar Co. PAC on May 13; $1,000 from the ExxonMobil PAC on May 22; $1,000 from the Halliburton Co. PAC on May 13; $1,000 from the Marathon Oil Co. Employees PAC on May 19; and $1,950 from the National Rifle Association of America Political Victory Fund on May 22.

In letters to Minnick, the federal agency cited errors of between $50 and $500 in calculations of five individuals’ contributions.

The Sali campaign also reported in its latest 48-hour notice receiving a $5,000 contribution from one individual, Emmett rancher Harry Bettis, though the contribution limit for individuals is $2,300 per election. Bob Biersack, FEC spokesman, said campaigns have up to 60 days to refund excessive contributions, or, at the contributor’s direction, redesignate excessive funds toward debt from previous elections.

Sali’s campaign has now filed 48 amended campaign finance reports in two years. Minnick has filed seven since he entered the race a year ago.

Betsy Z. Russell can be reached toll-free at (866) 336-2854 or bzrussell@gmail.com.

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