CRAB ORCHARD — A Lincoln County man is one of three candidates from state primary elections in May who were fined $1,000 last week for failing to file a financial disclosure statement with the state Legislative Ethics Commission.
Jerry Shelton of Crab Orchard did not respond to three separate letters informing him of the requirement that he file with the commission, LEC Legal Counsel John Schaaf said.
Last week, the commission approved fining Shelton, along with T.K. Broecker of La Grange, who won the Republican primary for District 47; and Jeremy Warfield of Owensboro, who lost the Democratic primary for District 13.
Shelton placed fourth in the Republican primary for District 80, receiving 176 votes.
Shelton did not return calls for comment.
All legislators and candidates are required to file financial disclosure statements that essentially summarize substantial property or business ownership of the legislators or candidates and their spouses.
Schaaf said the disclosures provide transparency for voters by revealing the "financial interests" of legislators and candidates.
"Him (Shelton) failing to file sort of defeats the purpose of the statute, which is to give the people information about their candidates prior to the election," he said.
Candidates are required to submit their financial disclosure statements no later than 21 days after the deadline for filing to run, which came in January this year.
After the 21 days had come and gone, the commission began sending letters to Shelton, Broecker and Warfield, informing them of the disclosure requirement.
The third set of letters were sent via certified mail, and Schaaf said his records show someone with the last name Shelton did certify they had received the letter at the Crab Orchard Post Office.
Under law, the commission has the ability to fine candidates $100 per day they are late in submitting their financial disclosure statements, up to a maximum of $1,000.
Schaaf said the amounts levied against the three candidates amount to "administrative fine(s)." If a formal complaint had been filed against any of the candidates, the LEC would have initiated a full investigation, but that has not happened.
Schaaf said there were a larger number of primary candidates than usual this year — 174 total including incumbents — so he wouldn't have been surprised if a few had been late filing, but to see three who failed to file at all is surprising.
"Three is probably the most who have just failed to file," he said. "I don't remember there being three who simply failed to file."