Kent City Councilwoman Brenda Fincher admitted on Tuesday that she had failed to meet the deadlines for filing campaign expenditures and contributions reports with the state Public Disclosure Commission (PDC).
The PDC posted Nov. 12 on its website that it is reviewing a complaint filed by Kent resident Bailey Stober that during Fincher’s recent winning campaign for the council she failed to timely disclose candidate expenditures made by her campaign and failed to timely deposit campaign contributions dating to Sept. 1.
“They were actually filed late,” Fincher said during an interview prior to the council meeting on Tuesday night. “I thought they had been filed. They are getting in there now. Someone else was doing that, but it is my campaign.”
Fincher said she missed the deadline by about a month to file the proper reports as required by the PDC. Candidates file C3 reports to document money donated to their campaigns. The expense forms are known as C4 reports.
The state could eventually fine Fincher for the violations of failing to file reports in a timely and accurate manner. Fines by the PDC board can be as high as $10,000 but also as low as $100, according to the PDC. The commission didn’t release any details about how long an investigation might take or when it might issue any fines.
“Could be, that’s all up to them,” Fincher said about whether she expects to be fined. “I did miss the deadlines.”
Fincher said she had no hidden funds and when notified of the complaint last week, responded with a letter to the commission.
“I’m not expecting big problems from it,” Fincher said. “It was definitely a learning curve for me.”
As of Wednesday, Fincher’s reports to the PDC showed she had raised $13,369 and spent $5,089. She said she is still in the process of filing reports.
Fincher defeated challenger Toni Troutner in a close race on the Nov. 3 general election ballot. The council appointed Fincher last year to replace Ken Sharp, who resigned after just two weeks in office because of theft charges. She ran for the seat to complete the final two years of the four-year term.
Stober, who lost in the August primary in a council race against Tina Budell and Hira Singh Bhullar, filed the report on Nov. 12. He has personal experience as far as campaign violations. The PDC fined Stober $2,000 in July for campaign violations in 2011 and 2013 when he lost council races to Deborah Ranniger and Sharp. Stober failed to file contribution and expenditure reports in a timely manner and committed other violations.
The complaint against Fincher also alleges that she violated PDC restrictions by using pictures of city of Kent law enforcement and fire department individuals in uniform in political advertisements sponsored by her campaign; and failed to include her sponsor identification on “robocalls” made by her campaign.
Crystal Fincher, the daughter of Brenda Fincher, and her campaign consultant, said in an email on Monday that Stober continues to make allegations to the PDC because of a past tie between the two that didn’t end well. Crystal Fincher worked for a short time as a consultant for Stober during his 2013 campaign.
“This is not the first time Mr. Stober has made unsubstantiated allegations to the PDC about me or a campaign with which I’m involved,” Crystal Fincher said. “This time, he’s targeting my mother. Since suspending consulting services and attempting to collect payment and bank fee reimbursement still owed after his campaign bounced two checks to me in his 2013 City Council campaign, Mr. Stober has continued to make antagonizing statements, comments, and social media posts about me and candidates with whom I work.”
Crystal Fincher, who has handled recent media inquiries about her mother, said the allegation about misuse of photos of police officers and fire department personnel is wrong.
“The campaign flyers and the images of those flyers on Brenda’s campaign Facebook page that include publicly available and widely used photos of law enforcement officials and firefighters officials are completely in accordance with PDC guidelines,” she said.
Prior to an in-person interview with her mother, Crystal Fincher didn’t respond to questions about the failure to file contributions and expenditures reports.