The Village Manager Association (VMA) may be delinquent in disclosing where it got the more than $7,000 it gave to the Citizens for Progressive Action (CPA) Party, which is slating four candidates for the Oak Park village board, a state election official said.

On Friday, Kevin Peppard, of the 700 block of Thomas Street, filed a complaint with the Illinois State Board of Elections, accusing the VMA of filing a false statement of non-participation in the April 17 election, and for failure to disclose a revenues-received statement.

The VMA, which traditionally slates candidates but does not help elect them, gave the Citizens for Progressive Action $17,522.20 in January and February in the form of two donations: a $5,000 loan, and a $12,522.20 in-kind contribution for polling results, according to state campaign disclosure documents. An in-kind contribution is one of value, but not cash, to a campaign, and typically involves picking up the tab for auction items or food for events.

The VMA reported a balance at the end of 2006 of $10,371.87. Therefore, in order to donate approximately $17,500 to the CPA in its bid to elect four candidates in the April 17 election, the VMA apparently must have raised more than $7,000.

However, the VMA filed “non-participation” reports in February and March and did not file a D-2 Pre-election Report as required for parties giving $500 or more in support of, or opposition to, candidates on the ballot, according to reporting on the Illinois State Board of Election’s website.

“If the facts as you’ve stated them are correct, there should be a need [for the VMA] to file a pre-election report,” said Rupert Borgsmiller, director of campaign disclosure for the Illinois State Board of Elections.

VMA president Bob Kane said the party has traditionally filed “non-participation” before elections and never had problems. He admitted that the party usually does not give as much to its slate, though.

Asked who gave the remaining $7,000, Kane said, “You’ll probably see 100 names.”

The CPA has raised an unprecedented $68,280 in campaign contributions and would not be affected by the matter.

Borgsmiller did not know about Peppard’s complaint when interviewed last Friday evening, but said the state board could make a ruling on a complaint at its April 16 meeting.

Penalties for delinquent reports are assessed at $200 per day that the report is late, if the party has never filed late before. Fines double for second-time offenders. The per-day clock stops on election day, so 11 days or $2,200 would be the maximum fine.

If a penalty were assessed, the VMA would have the right to appeal, Borgsmiller said.

-Drew Carter

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