After investigation of last-minute cash donations, Garcia qualifies for public financing

Gerry Garcia has qualified for $375,000 in public financing to run his campaign for secretary of the state.

The State Election Enforcement Commission approved his application today, but only after investigating some last minute cash contributions that amounted to 40 percent of his $83,000 raised.

“We investigate whenever there is a significant group of cash contributions,” said Beth Rotman, director of the Citizens’ Election Program, adding the high percentage of donations being made in cash “is not unusual at all.”

The State Elections Enforcement Commission has former Federal Bureau of Investigations agent, Charles Urso, look at every public financing application and investigate when necessary, Rotman said.

“We make sure they are actually qualified before we release any funds,” she said.

Garcia faces Denise Merrill, who also has received public financing, in an Aug. 10 Democratic party primary. If successful in the primary, he will receive an additional $750,000 for a run against Republican Jerry Farrell Jr. in the November general election.