Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Defense Tries to Show Gray Area in Campaigning Statute

Stephen Morgan, attorney for Sherry Schultz, followed a line of questioning that attempted to show there is gray area in the state statute being cited by prosecution as prohibiting the use of state facilities for campaign purposes.

Read the statute in question

Kennedy said he and his staff worked with the state Ethics Board in 2001 and clarified what state employees and officials can do on state time with state resources.

Morgan asked if prior to that Kennedy had known campaign activity on state time could be construed as illegal. "I think the statutes were clear at the time," Kennedy said. "I think because people weren't following the statutory requirements that it needed to be made more clear."

But, Kennedy added, it was generally pretty clear prior to 2000 that if you were on the state payroll you were not to engage in campaign activity.

Morgan asked Kennedy if campaign finance reports were generally accurate. Earlier in the morning. Kennedy told Meyer he wouldn't be surprised if a majority of reports contained errors. He said they were generally errors of omission. "There's a lot of details in those reports and it's not unusual to have an error in the details," Kennedy told Morgan.

Morgan also said the Elections Board adopted a software program for electronic campaign finance reporting co-created by Schultz, trying to establish that Schultz was very knowledgeable about campaign finance laws. Morgan asked whether the board had paid Schultz. Kennedy said no, they hadn't.

Morgan asked an interesting question on re-direct, trying to show the confusion of rules regarding the definition of state resources and their use by the RACC.

"Would you consider a state legislator to be a state resource because a state legislator is paid by the state?" he asked.

"No, I wouldn't," Kennedy replied.

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