Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Melissa Monday Recap - And A Comment Goes Up Front

Yesterday's Melissa Monday event was a "gang blog" if you will, on the part of several bloggers in the Houston area, as well as from points far and wide, in Texas and foreign countries like Massachusetts. A list of blogs that posted something on The Roy Morales Affair is to be found at the bottom.

But first, I received an incredibly informative comment on my Melissa Monday posting earlier today. The comment is obviously from someone who has had the time and talent for reading those draconian campaign finance reports. I was happy to find out that I was not alone in not being able to balance these books. It would seem like income minus outgo would give you cash on hand but it doesn't work with Roy Morales.

In case you missed the comment, I am front paging it below:

"It's interesting to note that between January 15, 2007 and April 12, 2007, about $37,000 in campaign debt magically disappeared. He might say that it was a different campaign, but campaigns cannot get closed out without a zero balance, and campaign debt cannot be "forgiven" without it being reflected as a campaign contribution. So where did it go?"

"The contribution period for Morales' 2005 race closed in February 2006, and he accepted $10,000 illegally from Bob Perry and his wife in November 2006 (which went straight into Morales' pocket)."

"Morales' most recent finance report shows $1,500 in campaign debt, but doesn't show any loans to substantiate that debt being on the books. Is it possible Morales is skimming campaign funds through bogus "debt?"The bottom line is that his numbers don't seem to add up. If he can't manage his own campaign finances ethically and properly, how can we trust him with a $3.8 billion city budget?"

Pretty damaging, huh?

I bet ol' Roy Boy isn't smiling today, at least not from the nose up.

Other blogs that ripped on Morales are to be found below:

Bay Area Houston - shows a photo of Roy (the sued) posing with Texas State Attorney General Greg Abbott (a suer).
Brains and Eggs - Points out how hapless GOPers are in municipal runoff elections.
Burnt Orange Report - Recaps the Melissa Noriega campaign along with the Miya Shay report.
Feet to Fire - Suggests maybe Roy Morales and Michael Franks can fight it out in front of Judge Judy.
McBlogger - Mentions one mis-spelling of the former councilwoman whose seat Melissa will fill come June 16th - a mis-spelling that I completely forgot about.
Off The Kuff - Got to put up his photo of Melissa's campaign sign one more time.


Anonymous said...

So he cant account for $37,000?

And "The contribution period for Morales' 2005 race closed in February 2006, and he accepted $10,000 illegally from Bob Perry and his wife in November 2006 (which went straight into Morales' pocket)."

Is this true? If so, has someone filed an ethics complaint?

Anonymous said...

Here's how it works - Campaigns basically roll over from one to the next. So if I run and have $5,000 left over, I can spend it for political purposes or hang onto it to start off a new campaign with that money. If I don't run, I have 10 years to get rid of the money through legitimate political expenditures or charitable contributions. I have to show zero cash on hand and zero debt in order to file a "close of campaign" finance report.

Between 90 days after the election and February 1st of the year of the next City election cycle, I CANNOT accept political contributions of any kind. If someone sends me a check, I have to either 1) return it to the contributor, or 2) donate all of it to a 501c(3) non-profit organization.

If I have $5,000 in campaign debt after the election, I can raise money for 90 days to pay it off, but if I don't raise enough to do so, it rolls over, and I can raise funds during my next race to pay it off. If a lender wants to forgive all or part of a loan, it has to be reported as an in-kind contribution (i.e. $5,000 - Loan forgiveness). If the lender is the candidate, the candidate must still report the loan forgiveness as a contribution, or write the loan off by filing an amended finance report that changes the funds from a loan to a contribution or expenditure made from personal funds.

In Morales' case, he illegally accepted $5,000 from Bob Perry and $5,000 from Perry's wife on November 17, 2006, which was during the blackout period. He then turned around and paid $9,950 to himself as a "payment on outstanding loan." This left him with $38,097.05 in outstanding debt and just under $200 cash on hand.

During his most recent campaign, he loaned himself $1,200 (at a whopping 21% interest).

In theory, Morales could file two finance reports on July 15, but it would be very strange and almost unheard of for a candidate to do that. If he chooses to do that, he could still report debt of $38,097.05, but by doing so, he basically puts himself in a position where he can never raise the funds to pay it back because the contribution period for the 2005 race is permanently over. The only way he can bring in funds to pay any of it back is to roll it over to his current campaign, and at that point, things start to get messy.

Now here's the thing - You should know that in accordance with State law, a candidate can only have ONE treasurer appointment in effect at any time, and the candidate has to have a treasurer appointment to make expenditures or accept contributions. What this means is that State law forces candidates to roll over their previous campaign finances if they don't close out the campaign (remember the whole zero thing?). So in order for Morales to comply with State law, he was supposed to either roll over his finances or not file a treasurer appointment for the May 12 election, which would have kept him from running.

The bottom line is that his chain of finance reports and debt are questionable, and Bob Perry's contribution was flat out illegal.

I hope that helps explain some of it. Aren't finance reports fun?

Hal said...

I wonder if anyone has found out what the glitch was in his original filing for office, and whether any of this had anything to do with it.

Anonymous said...

Whether it was legal or illegal, Noriega took over $20,000 from the Perry clan. That is pretty surprising too, since Perry is quite a right-winger.

Hal said...

Nothing illegal about it. Bob Perry likes a winner, and clearly Roy Morales is not in his winner column despite being of his political stripe. Backing Morales at this point is like flushing your money down the toilet.