Towns Pays for Unlisted Receipts

Posted October 21, 2009 at 6:21pm

House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Edolphus Towns (D-N.Y.) paid a Federal Election Commission fine of nearly $5,000 in September, according to his most recent campaign finance report.

Attorney Charles Simpson, a partner at the New York-based law firm Windels Marx Lane & Mittendorf, said Wednesday that the payment involved a “technical— issue.

According to FEC records, the agency contacted Towns’ campaign in January after the campaign amended an August 2008 report to include more than 90 donations totaling nearly $112,000 in additional funds.

The amended report included “a substantial increase in the amount of receipts from those disclosed on your original report,— states the letter, signed by Senior Campaign Finance Analyst Christian Hilland. “Please amend your report to clarify why this additional activity was not provided with your original report.—

Al Wiltshire, who serves as both Towns’ chief of staff and campaign treasurer, credited the mistake to an accounting error, according to a February response to the FEC.

“Upon review, it appears that the bank deposit slips were not recorded in the internal ledger by the assistant to the Treasurer, which in turn resulted in the fact that I was unaware of the receipts at the time of preparation of the Initial Report,— Wiltshire wrote.

He added in the letter: “There was no intention to circumvent the reporting rules of the Federal Election Commission.—

Although the New York lawmaker’s most recent FEC report shows the September payment for “operating expenses/legal fees: FEC adjudication— was made to Windels Marx Lane & Mittendorf, Simpson said the check was actually issued to the FEC.

Towns’ campaign report includes a second payment of $2,839 to the law firm in September for “operating expenses/legal fees.—

The campaign also issued a single payment of $5,181 in late September to the California office of the law firm Nossaman.