Recall Them All report raises questions
Filling out a campaign finance report isn't as easy as it first appears, Robert Johnson, treasurer for Recall Them All 2012, concluded after the city had some issues with the way he did it.
In other action involving Recall Them All 2012, the Arizona Court of Appeals is scheduled to hear arguments in the committee's appeal of a Yuma County court's dismissal of its lawsuit against Yuma City Clerk Linda Bushong and Yuma County Recorder Robyn Stallworth Pouquette.
The lawsuit alleges that Bushong and Stallworth Pouquette wrongly removed several signatures collected by the committee, resulting in an insufficient number of signatures for its petitions to recall Yuma City Councilmen Paul Johnson and Jerry Stuart.
The city has two issues with the financial report filed by Johnson, according to a letter sent to him by the Yuma City Clerk's Office.
For one thing, the report didn't include all the contributions and expenditures for the committee, which applied for an application on Feb. 6 to circulate petitions to seek the recall of the two councilmen.
According to state statute, a political action committee must file a financial report when it exceeds $500. But the report filed by Johnson doesn't include the initial contributions of $423 and expenses from last spring, among them a booth at the Yuma County Fair to seek signatures and some signs.
The letter also stated that the report “shows some deficiencies/inaccuracies that need corrected.”
The report shows the committee received donations totaling $6,576 as of Oct. 25 and has paid out $5,076 to date. Of that, $76 is listed as both an in-kind contribution and expense for use of a post office box, Johnson said.
The committee still owes an outstanding balance of $801.31 for legal fees but has not received a bill from its attorney for October, he said.
Contributors included Mitchell Dunn, $1,000; Johnson, $500; Phil Clark, $2,500; Nancy Thomas, $500; Wesley Eade, $500; Curtis Lee, $500; and Eric Choules of Mesa, $1,000.
At first glance, though, it appears on the report that the committee received thousands of dollars more than stated.
Johnson explained that he didn't include the initial finances because he understood they were for a separate committee that had been vacated. He further explained that he wasn't the original treasurer, taking on those duties in August when Recall Them All began receiving larger donations and was given a different identification number.
As for the discrepancy on the total of contributions, Johnson said he used a column labeled “cumulative total this campaign to date” to record a running total of the donations as they were received. He said it was explained to him that cumulative totals should have been for each contributor.
Johnson defended the financial report he filed, saying that as a guide, he used a previous report filed by a local professional accountant.
However, he said, he will file an amended form, following the advice he was provided by city staff.
Joyce Lobeck can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 539-6853. Find her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/YSJoyceLobeck or on Twitter at @YSJoyceLobeck.