Political Notebook


Fines loom for tardy campaign papers

2 officeholders late; many others yet to file reports

Last week’s deadline to file annual campaign finance reports seemed to have slipped by some politicians.

More than a dozen people missed the noon Wednesday deadline despite the Allen County Election Board sending reminder notices Jan. 6. Most of the people who missed the deadline were failed candidates from past elections, but a few were current officeholders.

Fort Wayne City Councilwoman Liz Brown, R-at large, barely missed the deadline, turning in her report at 3 p.m. Wednesday. County Councilman Darren Vogt, R-3rd, filed his report Thursday morning.

Many hadn’t filed their reports by Friday afternoon. Those include Fort Wayne City Councilmen Glynn Hines, D-6th, and Tim Pape, D-5th. Hines said he closed his account at the end of 2007, but the election board said he has $183.11 remaining. Pape could not be reached for comment.

Others on the list included Ron Buskirk, Pape’s Republican opponent in 2007; Mike Cunegin, former Republican county councilman; and Jeff Sorg, a former county surveyor.

The board sent another letter Thursday to people who hadn’t filed, telling them a $50 daily fine is mandatory for those who don’t meet the deadline, up to $1,000.

The board recently has become more aggressive in enforcing filing deadlines and other campaign finance rules.

Mayoral self-props

The city is doing a good job cleaning up after last month’s ice storm, according to Mayor Tom Henry, and he wants people to know about it.

Henry wrote a lengthy guest column that appeared in Monday’s Journal Gazette. In it, he lauded his employees for stepping up to help and shared stories of meeting grateful families in the shelters.

In all, the tone of the column seemed to be defending the city’s efforts in responding to the storm.

But who was attacking?

While tree limbs still line many city streets, the only public criticism of the mayor has come in sporadic letters to the editor.

Members of the City Council have expressed thanks for the effort and have echoed Henry’s call for patience during the cleanup.

When asked about the column last week, Henry said there were some residents who didn’t realize all that happened during the storm and the city’s efforts in response to it. He said the column was an effort to “raise everyone’s comfort level” with the city’s work.

Apparently, the mayor isn’t shy about tooting his own, or at least his employees’, horn.

Meeks lobbying

Add Bob Meeks to the list of former lawmakers to quickly join the lobbying ranks.

The former state senator from LaGrange made an emotional decision last May not to seek re-election because of serious health problems.

“I don’t want to do this. This is not my first choice. I would prefer to stay here,” Meeks said at the time. “The job in the Senate requires 110 percent of your body. My body is no longer able to provide that.”

Meeks has suffered several strokes in recent years and also spent time in the hospital for a fainting spell and had complications in his legs after surgery on his sciatic nerve.

But Meeks was walking the halls of the Statehouse again last week, this time as a lobbyist for Boyle & Associates.

According to his lobby registration form, topics he might be lobbying on include alcoholic beverages, budget, licensure, economic development, education, energy, property tax, regulation, taxation and telecommunications.

So is Goeglein

Fort Wayne native Tim Goeglein has been named the top Washington lobbyist and spokesman for Focus on the Family Action, the lobbying arm of Focus on the Family.

Goeglein worked in the Bush White House as the administration’s chief liaison to conservative religious groups until he resigned a year ago after admitting he plagiarized numerous columns that appeared in The News-Sentinel.

The Colorado-based organization said Goeglein will be its “eyes and ears in Washington” as the group lobbies on issues such as blocking marriage of gay couples and banning abortion.

Bipartisan sweets

The Fort Wayne City Council received a special treat last week when one of its members brought in several Barack Obama cookies and a cake.

But it wasn’t a Democrat rubbing in the victory to the GOP, but Republican Mitch Harper who brought the sweets.

The council met the same day as Obama took his oath of office. Several members asked whether Harper was trying to be bipartisan this year.

He responded: “He’s my president.”

Of course, the councilman made sure to offer a plug to Waynedale Bakery, which produced the goods and resides in his district.

A draw

It was apparently too quick to declare Mark GiaQuinta, president of the Fort Wayne Community Schools board, the victor in a battle with board member Kevin Brown over when Brown would report on a seminar he attended.

Last week’s Political Notebook detailed the public disagreement between GiaQuinta and Brown that began at the Jan. 12 board meeting and escalated into e-mails that were sent to about 40 people.

Brown wanted to give a 45-minute presentation on a school law seminar at Monday’s board meeting, but GiaQuinta wanted him to make his presentation at a work session last week.

The work session has come and gone, and there was no presentation by Brown. GiaQuinta said he decided Brown could take 15 minutes and give his analysis Monday to go along with a presentation by other board members, including GiaQuinta, who attended a separate seminar.

For now, we’ll call it a draw.

Kelly Soderlund and Washington Editor Sylvia A. Smith of The Journal Gazette contributed to this column.

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