For more than a month, State Representative Donna Hicks has refused to correct an inaccurate report disclosing how much money her campaign has spent or where she is getting her financing from as required by law.
Thirty days after the deadline, Rep. Hicks’ most recent disclosure still reports a balance of (negative) -$729.75. Under current law, elected officials are allowed to spend campaign contributions on certain personal expenses if they claim it is related to the duties of the office.
The House Ethics Committee found her guilty and fined her. However, Rep. Hicks still refuses to submit an accurate accounting of the funds in her campaign bank account.
Republican businessman Steven Long, who is challenging Rep Hicks, pointed out that Ethics rules require campaigns to accurately report all expenses and receipts. “Deficit spending is not allowed for campaign accounts and it ought not to be allowed in our state budget,” Long said. “Too often, politicians think the rules just don’t apply to them.”
On January 19th, Rep. Hicks filed her campaign disclosure, but state law sets a deadline to file as 10 days after the end of the previous quarter, making her filing 9 days late.
“Rep. Hicks says she supports Ethics reform but she apparently has trouble obeying the Ethics laws we have now,” Long said. “Unless you have something to hide, campaign reports should be a relatively simple matter. This issue with her finances was puzzling to begin with, but now it’s become cause for alarm.”
Long continued, “I understand that mistakes can happen, but when they do, you shouldn’t try to blame others. You should just fix the errors immediately. A leader takes decisive action to fix problems like this. I don’t feel comfortable with a person making decisions about state money who is so financially irresponsible, cannot properly account for her own campaign finances, and fails to meet basic transparency and accountability standards. The people of District 37 deserve better from their elected officials and that is exactly why I’m running for office. ”
Campaign filings can be found on the State Ethics Commission Public Disclosure and Accountability Reporting System: