Springfield City Councilor Timothy Rooke has agreed to pay $5,000 to the state’s general fund for campaign finance violations that include using campaign funds for personal purposes, failing to keep records, and not disclosing certain financial activity, according to a disposition agreement between Rooke and OCPF.
Rooke paid $2,000 to the state when the agreement was completed on April 29. The remaining $3,000 will be paid in installments of $1,500 each, due Aug. 1 and Dec. 31 this year.
OCPF reviewed the Rooke Committee’s financial activity from 2010 to 2012 and identified several issues.
The committee made expenditures for personal use – $1,500 for landscaping at the candidate’s home, $933 for a hotel room at a wedding in California, $300 for a stag party gift and $500 to the candidate’s son for work performed “throughout the years.”
Since 2010, the committee made 13 reimbursements of more than $50 totaling $3,512, including reimbursements to the candidate and his wife. The campaign finance law prohibits depository candidates, such as candidates for Springfield City Council, from making reimbursements for more than $50.
OCPF’s review also found several recordkeeping issues.
The committee was unable to produce receipts or records for numerous expenditures, including reimbursements made to the candidate, the candidate’s wife and the committee’s treasurer.
The campaign finance law also requires depository candidates to make expenditures only through the committee’s account. The candidate personally paid approximately $900 for goods and services, or reimbursed another person for expenditures made using the candidate’s personal funds, without utilizing the committee’s bank account. Also, from late 2011 until July 2012, a period when the committee’s bank account was closed or had a zero or negative balance, the candidate personally made expenditures or authorized individuals associated with the committee to make expenditures of approximately $2,400. Some expenditures made during this period were not originally disclosed on campaign finance reports.
According to the disposition agreement, the candidate has agreed to provide OCPF with copies of all deposited items and invoices or receipts for all expenditures until Dec. 31, 2015. He has also agreed to a suspended forfeiture of $2,500. If the candidate and the committee fully comply with the terms of the disposition agreement, the candidate will not be required to pay the suspended forfeiture.
A disposition agreement is a voluntary written agreement entered into between the subjects of a review and OCPF, in which the subjects agree to take certain specific actions. The agreement between OCPF and Rooke is posted on OCPF’s website at www.mass.gov/ocpf.
The Office of Campaign and Political Finance is an independent state agency that administers Massachusetts General Law Chapter 55, the campaign finance law. Established in 1973, OCPF is the depository for disclosure reports filed by candidates and committees.