2010-10-01 / Top Stories

Young Dems Challenge Turner Filings

By Howard Schwach

The Queens Young Democrats have challenged Republican House of Representatives candidate Bob Turner with violations of the Federal Election Campaign Act.

Turner is running against Congressman Anthony Weiner for the House of Representatives seat in the 9th Congressional District.

In a letter to the Federal Election Commission, Costa Constantinides, the organization’s president, said that Turner has consistently failed to supply information requested by the commission.

“Pursuant to 2 U.S.C. § 437g, please accept this letter as a complaint against Bob Turner and Bob Turner for Congress for violating the Federal Election Campaign Act and Federal Election Commission regulations,” Constantinides wrote. “On September 21, 2010 the FEC sent Mr. Turner’s campaign a Request for Additional Information, asking him to clarify some omissions and discrepancies in his 2010 July Quarterly Report. Unfortunately, his very next filing (his 2010 Pre-Primary Report), shows a continued disregard for the law. It is concerning to note that Mr. Turner has reported spending levels far below clear and apparent expenditures. If done intentionally, this is misleading activity that violates federal campaign finance laws and regulations. While I acknowledge such a serious issue requires a rigorous and precise investigation, I wish to share with you some evidence that suggests Mr. Turner is not submitting accurate information required by federal law.”

She added, “As you know, and is stated in the Commission’s Request for Additional Information, federal campaign finance laws require the full disclosure of expenditures and funds raised during specified time intervals. These disclosures are made public in order to ensure the greatest possible level of transparency in our political system, and to achieve to the greatest extent possible a level playing-field between multimillionaire candidates such as Mr. Turner and other, less well-financed candidates. Violating these laws can even be a crime if the violation is knowing and willful.”

Constantinides told The Wave that, under these laws, current Federal Election Commission (FEC) disclosure rules require candidates to file regular reports that include a full accounting of both receipts and disbursements at the end of each filing period. Turner has omitted from his latest FEC filing extensive receipts and disbursements he has accrued over recent months. If true, this is illegal, misleading, and deceptive conduct.

She said that, in his initial filing, for the second quarter of 2010, Turner listed the usual receipts and disbursements associated with a political campaign. But, in his latest filing, for the nearly two-month period between July 1 and August 25, Turner has listed a single disbursement: $2,900 for office. She said that they are aware of several actual receipts and disbursements that did not appear. These include:

July 17, 2010: Grand opening of the Turner campaign office, an event that included food and entertainment.

July 30, 2010: Half-page print media advertisement on page 3 of the July 30 edition of the Rockaway Wave.

August 12, 2010: Fundraiser at a local restaurant – no receipts for this fundraiser were listed.

August 26-27, 2010: Five print media advertisements in local newspapers.

August 12, 2010: Bob Turner told the Queens Chronicle that he raised “about $250,000.”

In addition to these clear examples of campaign receipts and disbursements, we have received documentation of several other suspect activities during the latest filing period, including: box trucks advertising Turner’s candidacy, yet no disclosed purchase or lease; press releases listing a known communications consultant as a contact., yet no disclosed consulting fee;

“These clearly visible activities only increase the suspicion aroused by the strange omission in his latest filing of the basic utility expenses that appeared on his first filing,” the spokesperson said. “This would lead one to the bizarre conclusion that, though Turner had quite obviously stepped up campaign activities, he had decided to do so without the use of routine utilities in his campaign office, such as electricity. Cable, electric, and telephone payments were all separately listed on his July filing but did not appear on his most recent filing.”

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