Under the Dome

State senate candidate is late on campaign finance paperwork

State Senate candidate Mike Woodard is tardy with some financial paperwork. His campaign organization has yet to file an organizational report with the state Board of Elections that was due two months ago.

Amy Strange, campaign finance compliance specialist with the state Board, said today that her office had attempted to contact Woodard's campaign and had no response.

Woodard said he received a written notice about the missing report last Friday. The notice gave him 30 days to comply, he said.

State law allows the Board of Elections to fine candidates for local and district offices $50 a day for delinquent reports, up to a maximum of $500. Failure to pay fines, according to the state Campaign Finance Manual, may lead to a committee being barred from receiving or spending money.

Strange said Board policy is to waive the fine for the first case of late reporting.

Campaign committees are required to turn in a Statement of Organization, certification of a campaign treasurer and a financial statement within 10 days of filing for election.

Woodard, who is in his third term as a Durham City Councilman, filed for the state Senate District 22 seat on Feb. 15. He said he did file the his committee's first-quarter financial report before the postmark deadline of 5 p.m. today.

The campaign committee for Woodard's opponent, attorney Kerry Sutton, filed a complaint this morning with the state Board.

"Obviously, there is nothing personal about this issue whatsoever," said George Lawrence, Sutton's campaign chairman. "But all candidates are required to follow the same rules.

"The point is, he's broken the law," Lawrence said. "In this climate where citizens are so concerned about campaign finance, that's serious stuff."

According to a statement from Sutton's committee, the Board was requested to "look into the matter," and claimed the state had tried "multiple times" to contact Woodard.

Woodard said the notice he received Friday is the only communication he has had from the state Board.

Woodard's most recent financial report was filed in July 2011 with the Durham County Board of Elections. It showed a balance of $955.14.

--Jim Wise, staff writer

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