The Pennsylvania Department of State’s Bureau of Commissions, Elections and Legislation (BCEL) told me this morning they have no record of Frank Denbowski’s campaign committee. He is running for the State House in District 126, a seat currently held by Dante Santoni Jr. State election law requires that any candidate spending more than $250 form a campaign committee and register it with the state. They are then required to file periodic campaign finance reports with BCEL. I have been searching the BCEL database for Denbowski’s reports for a week and finally drove to Harrisburg this morning to get them. I was told no reports exist and that they have no record of “Friends of Frank Denbowski” being a legally registered campaign committee.
I spoke with Mr. Denbowski and he insists he has filed the appropriate paperwork and has time and date stamped receipts. If he registered his Committee in February as he claims then BCEL should have a record of it. Mike Fleck, consultant to the Denbowski campaign called me and stated “we confirmed they have our reports. I don’t know why they couldn’t give them to you.”
Gov. Corbett’s budget cuts have cut the BCEL staff from 31 people to 20, a third of its previous size. Considering the importance of election integrity if they are unable to process crucial paperwork in a timely manner all elections are suspect. Voters have the right to examine all campaign finance reports prior to an election. We are on the Friday before a Tuesday election day and BCEL is unable to provide me with documents the candidate claims to have submitted. Of course had Denbowski done so electronically none of this would be an issue. Mark Rozzi’s electronically filed campaign finance report has been online at the BCEL website for a week. In 2012 it is inexcusable for a candidate to not be able to use basic technology.
Fleck told me he would scan their documents and send them to me via email.
I called the Department of State and asked why they are unable to produce documents when citizens drive there and request them. They have no answer for me yet either.
Meanwhile I have been attempting to obtain these documents since 8:30 this morning and by 1:30 PM have nothing. I’ll update the story as events unfold.
Update: Three and a half hours after they were promised I still haven’t received copies of the documents from the Denbowski campaign. I did get a copy of them from another campaign which managed to go to the Berks County Elections Services, obtain a copy (without state time stamps), scan them and email them to me. At this point I’m not sure I’d even trust them, too much time has elapsed to use Photoshop. Until I get something from the PA Dept. of State I’m not saying the campaign committee was properly registered.
Update II: The Department of State has sent the Denbowski campaign a letter stating their campaign finance report was filed on time. Thus far no one has provided proof the Committee was registered. I have been seeking this information all day.