Chesterton Tribune



Chesterton Firefighters Local 4600 PAC leads local campaign donations

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The Chesterton Firefighters Local 4600 political action committee (PAC) has pumped $4,650 in campaign donations into the two contested races in Chesterton.

The 4600 PAC reported it had $10,231.63 cash on-hand at the end of the pre-election reporting period and spent $6,366.68 pre-election.

Back in June, the PAC contributed $1,000 to the Committee to Elect Robert Allison and spent $666.68 on unspecified campaign signs. It also contributed $400 to the Indiana Firefighters Political Action Committee earlier this year and more recently paid the Duneland Chamber of Commerce $100 for advertising space.

According to the PAC’s own report and individual campaign finance reports, the 4600 PAC has invested a lot in the general election coming up Nov. 5 by contributing to Jennifer L. Fisher and Courtney Udvare in the form of both signage and direct donations.

Fisher, an Independent challenging incumbent Republican Emerson Delaney for the fifth ward Chesterton Town Council seat, reported a direct donation of $1,250 from the Local 4600 PAC and $940 in in-kind donations of signage.

Fisher’s campaign is otherwise self-funded, with three direct contributions totaling $2,550. She reported $2,087 cash-on hand at the close of the pre-election reporting period. Delaney reported no donations and no cash on-hand for the reporting period.

The Local 4600 PAC is also supporting Udvare, a Democrat looking to unseat incumbent Republican Stephanie Kuziela in the race for Chesterton Clerk-treasurer. Udvare reported a $1,700 direct contribution and $760 in in-kind donations for signage from the PAC.

Udvare’s only contributions were those from the PAC. She reported a cash on-hand balance of $1,931.44 with a $60 debt to herself.

Kuziela has self-funded her campaign this go around, with a loan of $566.56 of which she had paid back $139.09 at the time of reporting. She reported $65.91 on-hand with a $427.46 debt to herself.

Porter Races

Democrat David Phillips leads the pack across Duneland in number of donations. He reported 20 donations from 18 people and two organizations ranging from $25 to $500.

Phillips’ largest contributions are $500 from Ironworkers Local 395; $200 each from ward three Porter Town Council member Bill Lopez, Elka Nelson, and Dan Omeana; and $100 each from IBEW Local 697, Kevin McDermott, Karen Storm, and Albert Jackson.

Phillips also donated $127 and loaned $450 to his own campaign. He reported $685.25 cash on-hand with a $450 debt to himself.

Phillips’ opponent, Republican Jim Burge, has self-funded his campaign with four donations totaling $1,510. He reported $63.02 cash on-hand.

Unopposed incumbent Clerk-treasurer Carol Pomeroy reported no cash on-hand. Second ward Council member Greg Stinson reported $500 cash on-hand with a $500 debt to himself, as he loaned $500 to his campaign in the pre-primary reporting period. Stinson had no activity this reporting period.

Third ward Council member Bill Lopez reported no cash on-hand. Ward five Council member Brian Finley reported $50 on-hand. Ward one Council member Erik Wagner’s report was not available as of deadline today.

Burns Harbor Race

Though she’s unopposed, Burns Harbor Clerk-treasurer Jane Jordan donated $325 to her own campaign and reported $1,002.14 cash on-hand. Incumbent Democrat Town Council member Nicholas Loving reported no cash on-hand.

Reports were not available for the remaining Burns Harbor candidates at deadline today.

Taxpayers for Duneland Schools PAC

The Taxpayers for Duneland Schools PAC was disbanded Oct. 10. The PAC brought in $10,630 in donations for the year, most of them between Feb. 25 and late April leading up the primary election that featured the supplemental property tax referendum public question.

The PAC’s final/disband report shows it received an influx of contributions staring April 22 after it took in only 23 donations from individuals Feb. 25 to April 21. 26 donations from individuals were received in just the week between April 22 and April 29, then there were three more on primary election day, May 7.

Businesses and labor organizations including Gaston’s Towing & Auto Repair LLC, VP & G Inc., and International Union of Painters and Allied Trades also contributed.

As it was last reporting period, the Indiana Political Action Committee for Education (IPACE) was the largest contributor with two donations totaling $3,000. International Union of Painters and Allied Trades and Crown Point resident Rachel Jordan each contributed $1,000. Duneland School district residents Christine Kallay, Dale Banghart, and Laura Elliot each donated $500. VP & G Inc. contributed $350.

The PAC reported 20 itemized expenses for supporting the referendum totaling $11,011.63. Of those expenses, the largest were for signs, printing, bulk mail, and newspaper ads. Approximately $3,100 went to Sign Depot of NWI LLC (Lake Station), approximately $3,000 went to Data Graphic for printing/signs, approximately $2,300 went to Flanagin’s Bulk Mail Service (Valparaiso), and approximately $600 to the Chesterton Tribune for newspaper advertising.

When it disbanded Oct. 10, the PAC paid a $137.42 debt to Nation Builder for web support, and donated its remaining balance of $8,578.37 to the Duneland Education Foundation for grants, programs, and scholarships within the Duneland School system.

Who Reports?

Not every candidate for local office is required to file a campaign finance report. Candidates holding or seeking a local political position that pays $5,000 or more annually are required to file campaign finance reports with the Porter County Clerk’s office and abide by State reporting deadlines, according to Porter County Assistant Director of Elections Becky Rauch.

If candidates don’t stand to benefit that much from the offices sought, they can still choose to file, but are not required to by law. Candidates who have formed committees and reported with the County in the past should continue to report as long as their respective committees exist, Rauch said.

According to the Indiana Gateway transparency portal, Burns Harbor Town Council members were paid between $4,000 and $4,500 annually for 2018. Chesterton Town Council members were paid $4,834.96 in 2018. Porter Town Council members were paid $6,599.88 in 2018.

Clerk-treasurer is a full-time position in the three largest Duneland communities. Clerk-treasurers in Chesterton, Porter, and Burns Harbor were each paid between $50,000 and $58,000 in 2018, according to the Indiana Gateway.

PACS are required to file campaign finance activity with the local county election board only if all of their contributions are related to local candidates/public questions in municipal elections. They file with the Indiana Election Division if they are supporting or opposing state candidates or statewide public questions, according to the 2019 Indiana Campaign Finance Manual.


Posted 11/1/2019




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