Amended report shrinks campaign’s unpaid bills overnight

ctmirror.org

Bob Stefanowski

The gubernatorial campaign of Republican Bob Stefanowski filed an amended campaign finance report Wednesday showing it had unpaid expenses of $128,965, not the stunning $1.75 million that appeared in the original filing late Tuesday night.

The change was the result of how $1.4 million in loans Stefanowski has made to his campaign are recorded, not an overnight windfall. The amended report is consistent with state election rules and how a self-funding competitor, David Stemerman, records his loans.

Stefanowski’s original filing disclosed the loans, but the report was confusing in that it listed them as “expenses incurred…but not paid,” a section typically used to show what a campaign owes in unpaid bills from vendors, not loans from the candidate. The original report listed nothing in the outstanding loans category.

The summary page of the original filing showed the campaign with $646,155 in available cash and $1.75 million in outstanding expenses, which would have meant the campaign was $1.1 million in the red just five weeks from the five-way Aug. 14 primary. It now lists $1.4 million in outstanding loans.

With just $128,965 in outstanding expenses, the campaign is now $517,190 in the black.

The change is about more than accounting. Stefanowski, who is largely self-funding his campaign, has been sensitive to suggestions he might not have the resources to compete in November should he win the GOP primary.

Of the $2.2 million in total funds raised by his campaign, $451,809 has come from individual donors and the rest from Stefanowski in a mix of loans and outright contributions. His campaign had spent $1.55 million through June 30.

Stemerman, a former hedge fund manager, has put $12.8 million of his own money into his campaign, raised $100,000 from others and spent $3 million through June 30. Stemerman’s report lists $10 million in outstanding loans, unpaid expenses of $41,466 and $9.9 million in available cash.

The other three candidates — Mark Boughton, Timothy Herbst and Steve Obsitnik — are participating in the voluntary Citizens’ Election Program, which offers public grants to qualifying candidates who agree to strict limits on contributions and spending.

The State Elections Enforcement Commission has approved $1.35 million grants to Boughton and Herbst, but has yet to approve Obsitnik’s application, questioning some of his qualifying contributions. A gubernatorial candidate must raise $250,000 in contributions ranging from $5 to $100 to qualify.

The commission’s next meeting is Thursday.

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