Rep. Nelson fined for campaign violations

State elections fined Rep. Nelson $3,700+ for 13 campaign violations yesterday. The Elections Division ruled she didn’t knowingly make false statements. One of her errors was pledging to keep under the $2,000 contribution cap but failing to keep track of the incoming donations that were piling up beyond the limit. I don’t dispute the errors or penalty, but I can’t help but feel the colision between ever more complex campaign rules and candidates who choose to run low-budget campaigns. Even the new ethics rules have made things more complex — where one needs a lawyer to constantly check the rules.

The new electronic filings have made reporting requirements easier (kudos to Elections Division). On the other hand it also increased reporting peroids by 10 times the frequency amount. This means more funds expended for treasurers, more staff time, and more ways to make mistakes. Such rules make it a wee bit harder for start-up or low-budget campaigns.