Pine Bluff Alderman Wayne Easterly on Thursday clarified several points regarding the Arkansas Ethics Commission’s decision to fine him $150 and issue him a public letter of caution after an investigation into campaign finance reports filed by Easterly during the 2010 election cycle.
While the investigation found no substantive violations, it did find that Easterly failed to disclose several pieces of required information in his 2010 pre-election and final contributions and expenses reports.
In a letter dated Jan. 27 Easterly was found to have violated Arkansas Code by failing to disclose required information concerning the beginning balance of $752.34 listed in his pre-election campaign finance report and information concerning the disclosure of carryover fund activity before the 2010 general election and the subsequent transfer of carryover funds to his 2010 campaign account.
In addition, the commission found that Easterly failed to disclose required information concerning itemized contributions received by his campaign in his pre-election finance report; failed to disclose on his pre-election report information concerning expenditures made by his campaign in the amount of $805.89; failed to disclose on the pre-election report information concerning itemized expenditures made by his campaign; failed to disclose on his final campaign finance report information concerning expenditures made by his campaign in the amount of $699.53; and failed to disclose on his final report information concerning the categorization of expenditures in the amount of $598.
Easterly filed an amended pre-election report, an amended final report and a carryover fund report with the Jefferson County Clerk’s Office to provide the additional information requested by the Ethics Commission.
The Commercial erroneously reported in Thursday’s edition that Easterly had failed to report the beginning balance of $752.03, had failed to disclose carryover fund activity before the 2010 election cycle and the transfer of carryover funds to his 2010 campaign account. The Commercial also reported in error that Easterly failed to disclose itemized contributions and $805.89 in expenditures in his 2010 pre-election report; failed to disclose $699.53 in campaign expenditures on his 2010 final campaign finance report; and failed to disclose information concerning the categorization of $598 in expenditures in the 2010 final report. All of that information was in fact reported by Easterly.
On Thursday, Easterly provided The Commercial with copies of his original reports as well as the amended documents to demonstrate the clerical nature of the omissions cited by the AEC.
“There was nothing wrong there except for clerical mistakes,” Easterly said in a conversation Wednesday. “This is not an issue of money being unaccounted for or misappropriated. It was just the result of being in a hurry.”
“The beginning balance of $752.34 was on the original form but I had forgotten to write that it was a carryover from my 2006 campaign in the box next to that figure,” Easterly said Thursday. “I made the correction in the amended form.”
“The information that was missing on the original form where all itemized contributions were listed was the date that each contribution was received,” Easterly said Thursday as he held up the relevant page from the original report showing that all other information such as dollar amounts, names and addresses was indeed documented. “So in the amended forms I added in the dates.”
“Every one of these financial figures was in the original report,” Easterly said Thursday. “There was never an issue of funds not being listed on the forms. They were all reported.”
The AEC fined Easterly a total of $150, which breaks down to $50 each for the pre-election report, the final report and a carryover funds report; and issued him a Public Letter of Caution.
The AEC opened an investigation into the matter in the fall of 2013 after receiving a citizen’s complaint from Gary Wilson.