By The Sunny Isles Beach Reporter
It has come to the attention of the SIB Reporter that the Florida Elections Commission has begun an investigation into the financial campaign records of 77 year old Mayoral candidate, Lew Thaler. On September 29th, the FEC received a 91-page complaint filed by a Sunny Isles Beach resident who discovered irregularities in the required Campaign Treasurer Reports filed by Thaler covering the period from April 1, 2013 through August 31, 2014.
Specifically, it is illegal for municipal candidates to use personal credit or debit cards for campaign expenses and later have the campaign reimburse them. Legally, they can only use a debit card issued from the campaign’s bank account, but must disclose all the items as they would normally appear on a bank check. Thaler has now run for office three times and should certainly be familiar with the rules, however he allegedly still did not follow the strict guidelines set forth by the FEC.
According to Thaler’s official Campaign Treasurer Reports and the complaint filed with the FEC, Thaler may have used either a personal credit card or debit card for many of his campaign expenses, and was later reimbursed personally by his campaign. The filings indicate he made improper expenditures on over 100 occasions through August 31, 2014. In accordance with state law, each unauthorized entry is punishable by up to a $1,000 fine per occurrence which could potentially reach a staggering fine in excess of $100,000.
The Florida Elections Commission has not issued a statement as of this writing but is commencing with a full investigation. We are unaware if the Florida State’s Attorney is involved as yet, but will keep you updated on any governmental decision in this matter.