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Those who are detractors of Mayor Karen Weaver love to bandy the word “corruption” around. However, when one looks at the behavior of Scott Kincaid’s cronies on Flint City Council, you’ll end up scratching your head as to who is truly corrupt.
The classic definition of corruption is a form of dishonest or unethical conduct by a person entrusted with a position of authority, often to acquire personal benefit. When an elected official violates the rules as though the rules don’t apply to them, or when those entrusted with enforcing the rules look the other way to allow their friends and cronies to violate the rules, those are classic examples of corruption!
There are three seated members of Flint City Council who have either failed to file their Statements of Campaign Organization with the Genesee County Clerk’s Elections Division as prescribed by law, and/or have failed to file their Campaign Finance statements on the legally prescribed dates in accordance with P.A. 388, the State’s Campaign Finance law.
According to information posted on the Genesee County Clerk’s website, 2nd Ward Councilperson Jackie Poplar, and 3rd Ward Councilman Kerry Nelson failed to file campaign finance statements for the August 8 Primary Election. A pre-election campaign finance statement was due July 28, and a post-election statement was due September 7, 2017. A report for the General Election was due October 27. One can only wonder what they are trying to hide, what are they afraid of disclosing? Rumor has it they have received huge contributions from Republic Services, the city’s waste collection contractor they fought so hard to retain.
Both Kerry Nelson and 5th Ward Councilman Wantwaz Davis also failed to file Statements of Organization for their respective campaigns. Those were due in May 2017. Jackie Poplar did not file said statement until August 2017.
I asked Genesee County Clerk John Gleason why no letters of errors and omissions, or failures to file were issued to each of the candidates. He said he didn’t know. Whether this is a case of staff in the clerk’s office failing to do their due diligence, or whether it is an example of an official giving certain individuals preferential treatment, remains to be seen. Why none of these elected officials have been financially penalized is beyond explanation.
While such infractions may appear minor to some, Campaign Finance rules are law and all of the previously named individuals are sworn to uphold the law. Besides, minor infractions are usually indicators of much larger violations down the road. They are also indicators of the character of individuals who believe they are above the law.
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