Meetings
 
Agenda Item
Docket No. 13-430
 
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RE:
Request that the Board waive the $480 (reduced to $100), $540, and $180 campaign finance late fees assessed against Walter A. Bennetti, a candidate for Jefferson Parish Council, in the October 22, 2011 election, whose 30-P, EDE-P, and Supplemental campaign finance disclosure reports were filed 8, 9, and 3 days late.
Comments:
ELECTION: October 22, 2011
TYPE OF REPORTS: 30-P, EDE-P, and Supplemental
DAYS LATE: 8, 9, and 3
ASSESSED FEES: $480 (reduced to $100), $540, and $180
REPORTS DUE: September 22, 2011, November 1, 2011, and February 15, 2012

REPORTS FILED: September 30, 2011, November 10, 2011, February 18, 2012
ACTIVITY REPORTED:

30-P- $58,145 in receipts, $5,488.53 in disbursements, and $52,571.47 in funds on hand

EDE-P-$0 activity

SUPP-$0 activity

OTHER LATE FILINGS: None

Facts:
In connection with his request for a waiver of the $480 (reduced to $100), $540, and $180 late fees assessed for the late filings of a 30-P, EDE-P, and Supplemental campaign finance reports, Walter A. Bennetti states that he has spent several months of 2012 hospitalized and is still undergoing extensive wound care and physical therapy. On January 16, 2012, he fell and fractured several bones in his foot and ankle. For much of last year, he was bedridden while hospitalized and then unable to put any weight on his left leg for several additional months. He still cannot sit or stand for any significant time period and has to use a cane or walker. Mr. Bennetti maintains that his 30-P was not late. He timely filed the report on paper form, however, he received notice that he was required to electronically file the report, because he loaned money to his campaign.

Since there were no expenditures, he did not think that he was required to file an EDE-P report stating "no activity". He also states that his Supplemental report was filed late, due to his health issues during the time that the report was due. Mr. Bennetti is a district level candidate. This is his first election. He was an unsuccessful candidate.

In addition, Mr. Bennetti makes reference of receiving correspondence from staff dated February 20, 2013 informing him that he did not file his 10-P for the November General Election. The correspondence dated February 20, 2013 were charges for failure to file a 10-P report for the October 22, 2011 election. The report has been filed, therefore, the April 26, 2013 hearing with the Ethics Adjudicatory Board (EAB) is moot. He also makes reference of filing his 10-P report and Supplemental report on February 14, 2013. Campaign Finance records shows that he actually filed a 10-G campaign finance report on February 14, 2013.

In Board Docket No. 2011-1834, the Board at its January 20, 2012 meeting considered Mr. Bennetti's request for a waiver of the $480 late fee assessed for his 30-P report. The Board reduced the $480 late fee to $100. Pursuant to Board Rule 1207F(1), Mr. Bennetti's request for a reconsideration of a waiver of the $100 late fee is untimely.

La. R.S. 42:1157 provides that the late filer may apply to the Board for a waiver of late fees within twenty days after the receipt of the late fee assessment. In connection with the October 22, 2011 election, Walter A. Bennetti was assessed $540, and $180 ($720 total) late fees, on August 14, 2012. Mr. Bennetti received the late fee assessment on September 27, 2012, via Louisiana State Police. Mr. Bennetti had until October 17, 2012, to request a good cause waiver (see attached documentation). Mr. Bennetti's waiver request was submitted on March 21, 2013 after receiving a demand letter dated February 19, 2013(see attached documentation). Therefore, the waiver request for the $540 and $180 late fees regarding the EDE-P and Supplemental reports is untimely. Staff has requested medical records regarding Mr. Bennetti's illness, and will present them at the board meeting.

Law:
18:1505.4.A(1) Any candidate, the treasurer or chairman of a political committee, or any other person required to file any reports under this Chapter, who knowingly fails to file or who knowingly fails to timely file any such reports as are required by this Chapter may be assessed a civil penalty as provided in R.S.42:1157 for each day until such report is filed. 18:1485C. Each candidate for a major or district office and each principal campaign committee of a candidate for a major or district office that receives contributions or loans in excess of twenty-five thousand dollars in the aggregate during the aggregating period or that makes expenditures in excess of twenty-five thousand dollars in the aggregate during the aggregating period shall electronically file reports of contributions and expenditures with the supervisory committee. Effective January 1, 2010, Act 25 of the 2008 1st Extraordinary Session requires Major and District office level candidates with more than $25,000 in contributions/loans or more than $25,000 in expenditures in connection with a specific election to electronically file campaign finance disclosure reports. A report is considered not filed until it is filed electronically.

Recommendations:
In accordance with Rule 1205, rescind the late fee assessed for the late filing of the Supplemental report, decline to further reduce the late fee for the 30-P report, and suspend all but $200 for the late filing of the EDE-P report.
Assigned Attorney: Aneatra Boykin
 
 
ATTACHMENTS:
Description:
2013-430- Waiver Request
2013-430- Walter Bennetti-late fee assessment for EDE-P and Supplemental report
2013-430- Walter Bennetti-demand letter regarding late fees