FLINT TWP. — Genesee County Clerk John Gleason is calling a candidate for township clerk a “scofflaw” because of his unpaid campaign fines dating back four years.
Alex Clark, a candidate for township clerk, has accrued $3,500 in unpaid campaign finance fines, Gleason said. County records indicate penalty fees, accumulating at $25 per day, date back to 2012, when Clark unsuccessfully ran for township clerk.
“He wants to be a clerk but he is not following election law,” Gleason said, noting that running elections is one of the clerk’s duties.
Campaign finance statements are due quarterly and pre- and post-election, Gleason said.
Calling the matter “a non-issue,” Clark attributed the fines to misplaced paperwork by the county clerk in office prior to Gleason.
“I tried several times to resolve this issue with the County Clerk’s Office,” Clark said in a statement. “This stems from the post-primary campaign filing, which I did, and mailed into the Clerk’s office under the previous Clerk. They claimed they never received this so I came into the office in person and filed the paperwork to show no money raised since the precious filing and to dissolve the (campaign finance) committee. Several months later when Mr. Gleason came into office I received another notice that the committee had not been dissolved so I again went into the Clerk’s office to file paperwork, but this time they would not close out the committee because they said I had fines.”
Clark said he would not pay penalties assessed by the previous clerk because he “did everything properly.”
I have ran several campaigns in the past and never once did my candidates have any issues with Campaign Finance,” he said. “As I raise money and spend money for my campaign I fill out the campaign finance reporting forms so it is completely ready for the deadline.”
County records indicate that Clark’s situation began with a Lost Waiver Notice issued in October 2012 indicating that “the Reporting Waiver for his committee was automatically lost once the committee exceeded a $1,000 threshold in receipts, expenditures or debts. This notice was issued after the August primary, which Clark lost, and before the November general election.
Between March 2013 and November 2015, Clark’s committee received numerous Late Failure to File notices and an attempt by the county treasurer’s office to negotiate a resolution, records indicate. Records also show that five letters were sent notifying state attorney general Bill Schuette of the late failure to file, as required by law.
A full record of fines and notifications to Clark can be viewed online. In the interest of transparency, Gleason said that all campaign records for other candidates also can be viewed online at genesee.mi.campaignfinance.us/
Gleason said the county has a total of $45,000 in outstanding fines, so Clark is not alone. Gleason said he was not aware of other Flint Township candidates out of compliance but he holds Clark to a different standard because he is running for clerk.
“His job would be to oversee elections and making sure that election laws are followed,’ Gleason said.
Clark said he is focused on running his current campaign and would not have further comment “addressing this non-issue.”