Top mayoral candidates botch latest campaign finance reports

County Clerk: Two City Council members run afoul of state election law

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MONDAY, July 26 — Two of the five challengers who are facing off against Lansing Mayor Andy Schor in next month’s Primary Election have fallen out of compliance with state election law after submitting incomplete campaign finance reports to Ingham County Clerk Barb Byrum.

City Council members and mayoral candidates Kathie Dunbar and Patricia Spitzley will both receive warning letters this week after they both failed to provide several key details about their recent campaign donations in state-mandated pre-election reports by the deadline on Friday.

And as of today, neither of them have yet to fully comply with state election law, Byrum said.

Among the issues: Spitzley failed to list contact and employment information for several donors who contributed more than $100 as required by state statute. And Dunbar failed to report a single donation from anyone over the last several months, only filing a cover letter with her latest pre-election reports. 

Byrum said neither Spitzley or Dunbar will face fines because their reports — regardless of their accuracy — were filed in a timely manner. But voters, in the meantime, have been left in the dark on their campaign contributions with only about one week left to vote, Byrum explained. 

“Neither candidate is in compliance with state campaign finance law right now,” Byrum added, noting that both Dunbar and Spitzley have already been contacted about their recent missteps.

Dunbar told City Pulse today that she would file the missing information “as soon as possible.” Spitzley didn’t immediately respond to questions about the errors and omissions in her reports.

A letter sent to Byrum, however, noted that Spitzley is actively tracking down the missing details. 

“I had trouble with my PayPal reporting and could not get a complete reporting that included contact information for those who donated via PayPal,” Spitzley wrote. “I have reached out to those who donated to get the required contact information and will submit a revised report.”

She added: “However, I wanted to submit the report as complete as possible.”

Schor doesn’t appear to have any glaring issues within the hundreds of pages included in his latest finance reports, but Byrum said those will also be reviewed for accuracy this week.

Reports show that Schor raised about $180,000 and spent about $125,000 over the last seven months. All told, he’s headed to Election Day next month with an unspent political war chest valued at about $234,000 this month — up from $180,000 reported in his account on Dec. 31. 

Spitzley’s incomplete reports show that she raised a total of about $18,000 over the last seven months and spent about $16,000, leaving her with a cash-on-hand balance of about $3,300 — up from $1,200 reported in her account on Dec. 31. About $10,000 was listed as debt from herself. 

Dunbar had about $75 cash on hand at the end of last year. Her cover letter doesn’t provide any financial details at all about her political fundraising activities from over the last seven months. 

The latest reports also show that local activist Farhan Sheikh-Omar has only raised about $1,600 in donations since January and has largely bankrolled his own campaign through a loan of about $9,300 — leaving him with only about $360 in the coffers ahead of Election Day. 

Challengers Melissa Huber and Larry Hutchinson Jr. both have waivers that indicated they intended to raise and spend less than $1,000 this election cycle, negating the need for reports. 

This is an evolving story. Check back for additional details as they become available. 

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