As many of you know, the 8-Day Campaign Finance reports were finally published by the city yesterday. I am now updating my database to give you an analysis of the latest campaign contributions. The most recent public corruption cases were sometimes described as “campaign contributions disguised as bribes.” For that reason, I started building a database to track campaign contributions over time. As I reviewed Albert Weisenberger’s initial report, his financial transactions did not seem to correspond with his campaign activities. Even worse, at least for me who is trying to build a coherent database, his latest report is incompetent at best and outright deceitful at worst.
This does not bode well for a candidate, especially an attorney, when the campaign reports, as filed, contain procedural errors and incomplete information. On the April 9, 2015 report that Albert Weisenberger filed, he left the part of the report where he is supposed to total his expenses and contributions blank. I totaled his expenses manually and came up with $1,440 in expenses that he reported for the period of March 2, 2015 through May 9, 2015, according to the report he filed.
The problem though, besides the incomplete report he filed, is that the period he purports to be reporting on his 30-Day report is wrong. The period should be January 1, 2015 through March 30, 2015. The blank page in his report can be argued as an oversight. The period covering the report, as he filed it, can also be argued as a mistake.
However, at what point do mistakes become pure incompetence, especially for an attorney who makes a living arguing the nuances of the law and presumably filing documents with the courts. Weisenberger reported spending $1,400 at the 150 Sunset Event Center on March 30, 2015 and $40 on March 31, 2015 in postage.
Yet, as I reported to you on my candidate profile (Candidate Profile Albert G. “Al” Weisenberger) for him on April 14, 2015, a mailer on his behalf had been delivered to households during the first two weeks of April. The mailers are glossy and by the delivery dates, they appear to have incurred fees for design, printing and mailing during March. Thus, their expense should have been reported in the first campaign report he filed. It is possible, but highly unlikely, that they were designed, printed and delivered during the first two weeks of April allowing them to be reported in the 8-Day Campaign Finance reports.
Additionally, there were rumors on social media that the Forma Group was Weisenberger’s campaign consultants and therefore I was looking to reviewing the 8-Day reports. Albert Weisenberger filed his 8-Day report on May 1, 2015. In this latest version, Weisenberger reported spending $24,618.00 in campaign expenses. He reported that this report covered the period April 1 through April 30, 2015.
He got that right.
Except that as I reviewed the expense reports I immediately noticed that, he listed expenses starting on January 14, 2015. As a matter of fact, on January 14, 2015 he paid the Forma Group $9,996.67. As an aside, why $3.33 short of $10,000 is very curious indeed as banking regulators investigate transactions such as these as an attempt to avoid triggering compulsory bank reports to regulators for the $10,000 threshold. That is something the bank regulators may ask him someday.
As for the expense, it ties directly to the mailers that showed in voters mailboxes shortly after he filed his first report.
On April 30, 2015, Weisenberger paid the Forma Group another $9,942.43, again just short of the $10,000 threshold. However, this time the expense was properly reported in the appropriate reporting period. On April 27, 2015, he paid the Forma Group another $4,000.
Typically, in his error prone report, Weisenberger leaves the purpose of the expenses blank however; we can infer they were for consulting and production costs. It should come as no surprise to you that Weisenberger also listed another expense to Deluxe Business Systems that he paid on March 16, 2015 that is also outside of the current reporting period.
In total, Al Weisenberger paid the Forma Group $23,939.10. He spent $678.89 on postage and signage for a total of $24,617.99. In his totals page, Weisenberger listed $24,618.00 in expenses rounding up a penny from the actual reported expenses of $24,617.99.
Initially I thought Albert Weisenberger was deliberately hiding his connection to the Forma Group. I am not so sure now. Now, it seems to me that Weisenberger is just being nothing more than incompetent in his financial reporting.
In addition to the erroneous information, Al Weisenberger’s has incomplete information on his campaign contributors. A simple typo, like “Joshua E. & Martha Hung” instead of the actual names of “Joshua E. & Martha Hunt,” (04/02/2016 for $500) is irritating but in this case, added to the numerous other errors, it shows a complete disregard for adhering to the spirit of the reports. It is likely a simple typographical error, but one that makes it difficult to analyze trends. If you introduce erroneous information into the data set, the results cannot be trusted. It created more work for me.
His last page of contributors lists three individuals without any address information. The total for the incomplete contributors is $740.
As an attorney, I would assume that Weisenberger understands that accuracy in government filings is paramount to the integrity of the process. Apparently, I was wrong to assume that of an attorney. Additionally, what statement does the numerous “mistakes” say about the candidate that wishes to vote on budgets that impact your taxes. Will misplaced decimal points matter to Al Weisenberger?
Thanks for providing excellent reporting. Knowing this makes a great deal for the public to know the corruption before it gets into office..hahaha. Anyway, you probably already know that EL Paso TImes endorsed Weisenberger for many reasons, but mainly because of his “business experience”. I can see why the El Paso TImes would appreciate his “business experience”. Anyway, here is the article, if you haven’t seen it: http://www.elpasotimes.com/opinion/ci_27971470/el-paso-times-endorsements-city-council?source=rss .
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