Candidates required to document donations during campaigning
OKMULGEE, Oklahoma — Enforcement responsibilities of the Campaign Finance Disclosure Act were moved from the Muscogee (Creek) Nation Public Ethics Commission to the Election Board, in late 2018.
MCNEB Manager Nelson Harjo, Jr. spoke with Mvskoke Media to discuss the new procedures regarding campaign finance for the upcoming MCN Principal Chief, Second Chief and MCN National Council Seat A election.
“The election is right around the corner,” he said.
Harjo said the CFDA would be a new addition to the election.
“It will be an extra dimension to our elections,” he said. “Something we never had here at Creek Nation.”
He also said there were some things the citizens needs to know when it comes to CFda.
Harjo said if anyone who publicly declares their candidacy, either through a publication, webpage, news media announcement or upon commencement of fundraising activities is considered a candidate.
“They will be responsible for any contributions that they might receive,” he said. “From that point until they file for their candidacy.”
An example is if someone was to create a Facebook page saying they are running for MCN Second Chief, from that point on until they file for that office seat, they will need to claim any contributions towards their candidacy.
“If they receive any contributions, anything over $100, they will be responsible for claiming that on the Campaign Finance Disclosure Statement,” Harjo said.
He also said the CFDA language states that candidates would be responsible for submitting these statements on a routine basis.
“Throughout the election process,” Harjo said.
Candidates must report if they receive anything over $100 and must not be able to receive within a cumulative amount of over $5000.
“From any business, individual or corporation,” Harjo said. “So if you receive anything over $100 you have to claim it but you cannot accept anything over $5000 from a business, individual or corporation.”
Harjo said candidates do not have to report their personal funds that are used for campaign purposes.
“If someone has enough savings in their bank to where they can finance their own campaign from their own personal funds, those do not have to be reported,” he said.
He also said the CFDS are due at the end of each month during the election season with the first reporting of the candidate’s finances due at the end of July.
“There will be a 5-day grace period of turning in their finance statements,” Harjo said. “After the grace period is over the Election Board can file a show cause notice against the candidate.”
If a candidate does not make it to the general election in their respective seat, then the last month of the primary election will be the last time they have to report any contributions.
“The candidates that are in the runoff will have to keep reporting until the general election is over with,” Harjo said.
Harjo said the CFDS would be made available to the citizens for the next four years of the candidate they wish to look at.
“That’s a direct quote from the campaign finance code,” he said. “If somebody wants to see what these reports look like and what the candidates are reporting they come to the Election Board office.”
Citizens will have to put a written request at the EB office. They will charge $1 for the first page and 50 cents for each additional page after.
Harjo also said there will be penalties for the candidates for late reporting of the CFDS.
“And inaccurate reporting and false or misleading reporting,” he said.
Harjo said if the citizens want to read the entirety of the Campaign Finance Disclosure Act, it is on the MCN website at: http://www.mcn-nsn.gov/services/election-board.
Any other questions, call the EB at: 918-732-7631.