Pre-General Election Finance Reports for the Cleveland mayoral candidates are in - 90.3 WCPN's Janet Babin reviews the reports for Jane Campbell and Raymond Pierce.
Janet Babin- The documents show that since the last report was filed in September, the Pierce Campaign spent just over $206,000, and Campbell's camp spent about $689,000, more than three times the amount that Pierce has spent.
Campaign finances came up at a Candidates' Forum sponsored by Cleveland Neighborhood Development Corporation, held on West 14th Street. Moderators included representatives from the Free Times Newspaper and 90.3 WCPN. The candidates were asked whether residents could believe that their neighborhood concerns will be as important as the concerns of large contributors, Political Action Committees, and businesses. Speaking from an auditorium stage, Campbell responded first
Jane Campbell- For 17 years I've been an elected official. I've never made a decision based on a campaign contributor, and I never will.
Raymond Pierce- I think the citizens of Cleveland have a right to be concerned about the exorbitant amount of money spend by the Campbell campaign.
JB- Pierce Campaign spokesman Andrew Juniewicz claims Campbell's raised in excess of one million dollars. He says that's more than city laws allow, and is bringing the matter to the attention of election officials.
But the city charter only places a voluntary spending limit of $625,000 on mayoral races. Campbell didn't promise to adhere to the limit.
Residents amended the City Charter in 1994, voting to create the Fair Campaign Finance Commission, and placing a mandatory limit on individual contributors, who are permitted to contribute $1,000 each year. PACs can contribute $2,000 each year.
The Pierce report lists a contributor as donating $2,000 to the campaign, although an individual is limited to a $1,000 campaign contribution. Juniewicz says the amount may be a typing error - he says the campaign is aware of the dollar limit on individual contributions.
About 200 people attended the Candidates Forum, including Jim Brown, who says he's not concerned about Campbell's large campaign war chest.
Jim Brown- I don't have any feelings about that - good politicians always have a lot of money.
JB- But Linda Deitrich says she's concerned about the transfer of funds from one political race to the next.
Linda Deitrich- I think it's wrong that the commissioners were allowed to bring that big money from... to Mary Rose Oakar to all the other candidates. It will certainly be part of my decision that Jane Campbell has the big bucks and the other guy doesn't.
JB- Pierce spokesman Juniewicz says he plans to bring Campbell's finances to the attention of the Fair Campaign Finance Commission, but a similar complaint filed by former Primary Election Mayoral hopeful Bill Denihan proved unsuccessful. In Cleveland, Janet Babin, 90.3 WCPN News.