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Politics & Local Govts.

Nov 1 – One Year to the Nov 2018 Elections; Here are recent Campaign Finance Reports by Local Delegation

Category: Politics & Local Govts

State offering Webinar Nov. 15 to learn about Running for Local Office

By Lou Phelps, Brunswick Business Journal

November 1, 2017 –  It’s that time of year in the world of election cycles:  one year until the November 2018 elections when candidates begin to decide whether to run for office, and for incumbents decide whether to seek re-election.

This is considered an ‘Off Year' relative to the number of reports that elected officials must file.  Starting in January 2018, candidates start to file Campaign Finance Reports every three months, or more often. 

Political activists in all parties start to follow who has announced they will be seeking re-election in 2018, and everyone starts to ‘follow the money.' Who is raising money?  Are they using a political consultant?  And, how much money do they have in the bank as they head into an election year?  

For example, Sen. Tyler Harper has announced his ‘3rd Annual Pig Pickin and Politickin’ fundraising event on Thursday, Nov. 16 at his home, Harper Hill Plantation in Ocilla, to add to his campaign war chest.  He reports that both Gov. Nathan Deal and Congressman Austin Scott will be ‘special guests' on his Facebook page. 

All elected officials must file both Campaign Finance Reports and Personal Financial Statements in Georgia.  

Reports are filed with the Georgia Government Campaign Finance and Transparency Commission, where the details on current and past reports filed by all candidates are available to the public, including a list of all contributors over $25.00. This info can be found at http://media.ethics.ga.gov.

The fines are stiff, and escalate rapidly,  for not filing on time.   This year, 2017, is considered an ‘Off Year.’  Here’s the schedule of when reports were due and the fines for being late: 

Year

Report Name

Grace Period 
End Date

$125 Fee

Additional 
$250 Fee

Additional 
$1000 Fee

2017

January 31st - Non-Election Year

02/07/2017

02/08/2017   -   02/14/2017

02/15/2017

03/17/2017

2017

June 30th - Non-Election Year

07/10/2017

07/11/2017   -   07/14/2017

07/15/2017

08/14/2017

Elected officials at the county and municipal level also must file reports every year, but they are filed with the local County Clerk’s office versus with the State. Those reports, listing every donor, are available free of charge.  The County Clerk is also responsible for reporting to the State Commission if any candidate failed to file a report, and to collect any fees or fines that are due.  Those fines are reported on the Commission’s website, as well.  

Personal Financial Statements

All elected officials in Georgia – even at the municipal and county level -  must file a ‘Personal Financial Statement’ once a year that outlines their sources of income, assets including stocks, bank accounts, and 401K’s. They also must list property they own, and whether they received more than $10,000 from any State entity or State contract during the reported year.  Federal contracts are not required to be reported on the Georgia financial statement, under current Georgia law.  

Public officers who are not in their election year, or public officers who are members or directors of state boards, commissions, or state authorities, had to file a Personal Financial Disclosure Statement, covering 2016, between January 1 and not later than July 1.  Only one Personal Financial Disclosure Statement is required per calendar year. 

The majority of those filing in Southeast Georgia did not list assets such as money in bank or stock accounts.  Anything over $5,000 is supposed to be reported.  Specifically, Section VII of the report states, “List the name of any business or subsidiary thereof or investment in which the filer (either individually or with any other legal or natural person or entity) owns a direct ownership interest that: (1) is more than 5 percent of the total interests in such business or investment, or (2) has a net fair market value of more than $5,000.00. (Do not list individual stocks and bonds that are held by mutual funds.).”  Only State Rep. John Corbett appears to have indicated the required information.

Thinking About Running for Office?

The next free webinar, entitled “Candidates Getting Started (Municipal/County)” for those considering running for local office, will be held on Weds.  Nov. 15, 2017 from 10:00 AM - 11:00 AM.  To register, go to https://register.gotowebinar.com/rt/2510862729608297731

Below are the latest reports filed on time – or not filed as of today– by the nine members of the General Assembly who represent all or portions of the six counties of Southeast Georgia that are covered by the Brunswick Business Journal (see map.)  

Reports were due by July 10, and covered the period from the previous reporting period from Jan. 31. 2017 through June 30, 2017. Also reported below is each elected officials Cash on Hand, whether they filed their Personal Financial Statement. Also listed is whether the Commission states that they have outstanding fees or fines – for not filing, or filing late – that are presently due.

The most recent Campaign Finance Report covered the period ending June 30, 2017 are: 

1.)  STATE SENATOR William T. “Bill” Ligon, Jr.(R) SENATE DISTRICT 3

  • Revenue in Period:    $0.00
  • Expenditures in Reporting Period:   $     6,016.96
  • Cash on Hand as of June 30, 2017:  $ $47,595.18
  • Personal Financial Statement filed:  5/12/2017:  President, Director of Ligon, Lindberg & Lanier PC. 
  • Outstanding Fees or Fines:  NONE

2.)   STATE SENATOR Tyler Harper, (R) GA SENATE DISTRICT 7

  • Revenue in Period:  $7,850.00
  • Expenditures in Reporting Period:  $58,125.54. Of this, $38,250.00 was a repayment to Tyler Harper for GA, reported as a loan repayment.  
  • Cash on Hand as of June 30, 2017:  $28,394.50
  • Personal Financial Statement filed:  5/26/2017:   CEO of Fortis USA, Inc. a training company; partner   in Harper Family Holdings, LLC, a rental company; President, Tyler Harper Farms; President, Elite Helicopters, Inc.; Vice-President, Force3 USA, Inc. a property management company.
  • Outstanding Fees or Fines:   NONE

3.)  STATE REPRESENTATIVE Jeffrey Brian “Jeff” Jones, (R) GA HOUSE DISTRICT 167   

  • Revenue in Period:  $0.00
  • Expenditures in Reporting Period:  $5,690.69
  • Cash on Hand as of June 30, 2017:  $5,125.89
  • Personal Financial Statement filed:  2/5/2017, President, Express Lubes of Southeast Georgia.
  • Outstanding Fees or Fines:  NONE

4.   STATE REPRESENTATIVE James Donald “Don” Hogan (R) GA HOUSE DISTRICT 179

  • Revenue in Period:  $950.00
  • Expenditures in Reporting Period:  $500.00
  • Cash on Hand as of June 30, 2017:  $13,916.43
  • Personal Financial Statement filed:  June 21, 2017.  Retired.
  • Outstanding Fees or Fines:  NONE

5.    STATE REPRESENTATIVE John Chad Nimmer (R) GA HOUSE DISTRICT 178

  • Revenue in Period:  $0.00
  • Expenditures in Reporting Period:  $17,714.15
  • Cash on Hand as of June 30. 2017:   $103,371.19
  • Personal Financial Statement filed: June 30, 2017.  Secretary/Treasurer Suwannee Forest Products Inc/Timber, Operations Manager; Secretary/Treasurer, JCL Consulting Inc.; Managing Member, Twin Lake Blueberry Farm LLC. 
  • Outstanding Fees or Fines:  NONE

6.    STATE REPRESENTATIVE Jason Spencer (R) GA HOUSE DISTRICT 180

  • Revenue in Period:  $0.00
  • Expenditures in Reporting Period:   $1,385.45
  • Cash on Hand as of June 30. 2017:   $62.69
  • Personal Financial Statement filed: June 28, 2017.  Physician Assistant, Emergency and Family Medicine Applecare in Camden.
  • Outstanding Fees or Fines:  NONE

7.   STATE REPRESENTATIVE William A. “Bill” Werkheiser (R) GA HOUSE DISTRICT 157

  • Revenue in Period:  $4,700.00
  • Expenditures in Reporting Period:  $1.078.00
  • Cash on Hand as of June 30. 2017:   $19,825.95
  • Personal Financial Statement filed:  Feb. 6, 2017.  Owner, Werkheiser Real Estate. Rental of commercial and residential property.   Receives $50,400/yr from Pineland Mental Health, State of Georgia. 
  • Outstanding Fees or Fines:   $125.00

8.  STATE REPRESENTATIVE John Corbett (R) GA HOUSE DISTRICT 174

  • Revenue in Period:   $350.00
  • Expenditures in Reporting Period:   $2,334.01
  • Cash on Hand as of June 30, 2017:   $25,906.06
  • Personal Financial Statement filed:  June 27, 2017. Electrician, Corbett Electrical.  Co-owner Hardridge Creek Storage.  Lists stock accounts with American Stock (AST), Edward Jones,  Synovus Securities
  • Outstanding Fees or Fines:   NONE

 

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