Wednesday, April 11, 2012

BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE!: Antenori Files THIRD Finance Report, With Hint Of Fourth

(Edit: This was edited at 11:54am, MST, to correct the date of filing of the "original pre-primary" from "last night" to "the 9th".)

Several days after the April 5 reporting deadline, Sen. Frank Antenori's campaign finance report was outstanding.  Now, after having filed three DIFFERENT reports in a two-day period, with the hint of a fourth yet to come, his report(s) are just standing out.

All three reports are prepared/filed by former state Senator and new Antenori campaign Treasurer Jeff Hill.  And, all three have major differences with each other.  (Arizona's Politics has e-mailed the Treasurer, asking for assistance in reconciling those differences, and will update this report as warranted.)

On Monday, Arizona's Politics asked what was causing the delay in filing, and joked that an e-mail appeal for donations was a last-ditch attempt to bolster the numbers.  The three reports do not show any evidence of donations coming in after the March 28 cutoff, so confusion and/or an attempt to make the numbers look as least bad as possible seem to be the leading explanations for the delays and multiple filings.

It appears that two reports - what we will describe as the "original special"* and the "amended special" were released to the media sometime on Tuesday, were filed with the FEC sometime on Tuesday, and are date-stamped by the FEC as (4/9, 22:19) and (4/10, 00:44), respectively.  The date stamps may reflect when the FEC received them or when the FEC put them up on their publicly-accessible database.

In any event, the campaign ALSO filed what we will describe as the "original pre-primary".  This was apparently faxed from Hill's office to campaign chair Brett Mecum's office shortly after 5:00pm on the 9th, and was then faxed to the FEC at about 7:15pm that night.  Hill's office also promised Mecum's office that "an amended is almost complete".

All three reports cover the exact same reporting period, January 1 - March 28, 2012. Yet, the differences are surprising.  Given the timeline above, we will make the working assumption that the preparation order of the three (to date) reports are: original special, amended special, and original pre-primary.  (The FEC also lists them in that order, and they generally list in order received.)

They do all agree that the cash on hand on January 1 was $9,741.78.  But, then ITEMIZED contributions from individuals went from $22,535 to $25,685 to $14,620!  Unitemized (which you might expect to have more variability) went from $6,271 to $10,504 to $4,746.  Adding those, plus the $500 from a PAC, and you have total contributions ranging from $29,306 to $36,689 to $19,866.

Flip the page, and you see that operating expenditures were listed as $49,354.51 in the first two reports, but were then changed to $11,311.85 in the original pre-primary filed last night.

The bottom line on that fourth page of each report is one of the key ones that everyone - reporters, contributors, etc. - look at: "CASH ON HAND AT CLOSE OF REPORTING PERIOD".  The fluctuations in the figures above lead to the following closing cash on hand numbers:  NEGATIVE $10,306.73 in the first report, shrunk to NEGATIVE $2,923.73 in the amended.  And, the THIRD report shows a POSITIVE cash on hand of $18,295.93!

HOWEVER, Hill's office filed a ledger attached to the third report, and that ledger clearly shows that the expenditures far exceeded the $11,311.85 listed.  (They probably total the $49,354.51 listed in the first two reports, but some of the numbers on the faxed and/or double-faxed ledger are difficult to make out.)

Anyone can draw conclusions from this, and everyone knows that there could be consequences to knowingly filing incorrect reports.  But, this one will wait to hear the explanations.

*"special" referring to the special election.  Not sure why the third report was designated "pre-primary" instead of "second amended special"

We welcome your comments about this post. Or, if you have something unrelated on your mind, please e-mail to info-at-arizonaspolitics-dot-com or call 602-799-7025. Thanks.


Anonymous said...

Can you do a story on the pima gop using slates that say "do not vote for ron paul delegates" for ld pc committeman votes to select state delegates?

Mitch M. said...

That DOES sound interesting, A. I'd be happy to read more about it if you e-mail me info. I am not spending enough free time down in Tucson to really pursue it the way it probably would need to be pursued - one of the political reporters at the Weekly or the Star would be in a better position.

I would certainly want to see some documentation of what sounds like it could be ordinary campaigning material; what leads you to say it is the county party getting (allegedly improperly) mixed up in campaigning.

I have both covered the delegate selection process as a reporter and been involved in it as a partisan. I know that a lot of hanky-panky happens underneath the surface, but if you have the evidence that proves that it has broken the surface, you should be able to get some media attention.