Rick Nolte accused of campaign-finance violations in College Board race

Rick Nolte, recently elected to the Polk County School Board, faces a complaint that he violated state campaign-finance laws with a reported $5,200 cash loan to his campaign and a series of 10 cash contributions from others of $100 each.

Rick Nolte, lately elected to the Polk County College Board, faces a criticism that he violated state campaign-finance rules with a reported $5,200 money mortgage to his crusade and a chain of 10 money contributions from others of $100 each and every.

Rick Nolte, newly elected to the Polk County College Board, faces a criticism that he violated a state campaign-finance legislation with money contributions made via himself and supporters.

Billy Townsend of Lakeland, a former College Board member, submitted a criticism this week to the Florida Elections Fee. Townsend cited Nolte’s campaign-finance disclosures, wherein he reported a $5,200 money mortgage to his crusade and a chain of 10 money donations of $100 each and every from others.

A Florida statute protecting crusade finance limits contributions made to a candidate in money or via cashier’s assessments to $50 in keeping with election. The legislation states that any one who makes or accepts a contribution in far more than that quantity commits a first-degree misdemeanor.

Willfully making or accepting a money contribution of greater than $5,000 is a third-degree legal, the legislation says. In his criticism, Townsend accuses Nolte of each misdemeanor and legal offenses.

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Donna Ann Malphurs, an company clerk with the Florida Elections Fee, stated that court cases and comparable paperwork are confidential till after the company makes a possible reason resolution. She stated she may no longer ascertain if the fee had gained Townsend’s criticism.

Townsend shared a receipt appearing the letter was once delivered thru UPS on Tuesday.

Malphurs additionally stated via e-mail that the fee “isn’t approved to supply or render prison recommendation, give steering and or make an interpretation of the elections code.”

Malphurs referred a reporter to the Florida Department of Elections for interpretations of state legislation. Mark Ard, a spokesperson for the Division of State, which oversees the Department of Elections, said receipt of an e-mail despatched Friday morning and stated he can be in contact.

A decision to Nolte’s mobile phone Friday morning was once no longer responded and didn’t pass to voicemail. Nolte didn’t reply to a textual content message or an e-mail. He has no longer replied to any earlier interview requests from The Ledger.

In a crusade treasurer’s document posted via the Polk County Manager of Elections, Nolte disclosed a mortgage of $5,200 to his crusade on March 10. It’s described as money beneath the heading “contribution sort.”

Nolte reported repaying the $5,200 mortgage to himself on Might 26.

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In some other document protecting Aug. 6 thru Aug. 18, Nolte reported 10 contributions of $100 each and every from separate folks. Every is described as “money.”

Along with the mortgage, Nolte reported 3 contributions to his personal crusade totaling $15,200. The supply for each and every is categorised as a test.

Nolte said an error in a letter despatched to the Manager of Elections place of work and dated Aug. 26. The letter reads (in unedited shape):

“I didn’t notice that the money most contribution to my crusade was once $50 money in keeping with particular person. I assumed it was once $100. After reporting the ten $100 donations it was once dropped at my consideration. I’ve now, since figuring out this error returned $50 money to each and every of the ten donors. Please settle for my apologies for this error and let me know if there may be the rest additional, I must do to proper my error.”

The letter does no longer point out Nolte’s self-reported money mortgage of $5,200. The Manager of Elections place of work isn’t accountable for implementing state election rules.

Manager of Elections Lori Edwards stated that Nolte can document any ultimate monetary process via his crusade in a “termination document,” which is because of her place of work via Nov. 21.

Advised of Nolte’s letter, Townsend stated in a textual content message: “I suppose the related government might be inquiring for the best verifications and receipts. It sort of feels very ordinary that he recognizes 10 ‘unintentional’ misdemeanors, however has not anything to mention about loaning himself $5,200 in money, which for sure seems like a legal within the statute.”

A record Nolte submitted to the Manager of Elections place of work closing November indexed Dennis Elliott of Mulberry as his crusade treasurer.

The Ledger left voicemail messages for 2 of the supporters indexed as making $100 money contributions to Nolte in August. Neither had replied via Friday afternoon.

Nolte, a retired bodily training trainer and Mulberry resident, ousted incumbent College Board member Sarah Fortney within the Aug. 23 election for District 3, taking pictures slightly below 51% of the vote. He’s going to take place of work in November.

Nolte reported overall crusade receipts of $44,409, when compared with $38,181 for Fortney.

Nolte was once one in every of 4 applicants recommended and promoted via the Polk County Republican Birthday party within the nonpartisan elections. He signed Gov. Ron DeSantis’ “Training Schedule” pledge, which integrated guarantees to keep away from faculty closures, “stay woke gender ideology out of colleges” and reject Crucial Race Principle, which isn’t taught in any public faculties in Polk County.

Nolte was once the one candidate to obtain an endorsement from DeSantis, who gave his make stronger to 30 applicants statewide. Fortney gained an endorsement from the Polk County Democratic Birthday party.

Townsend served at the Polk County College Board from 2016 to 2020 and now writes a virtual publication keen on training and politics. He ceaselessly criticized Nolte and two different conservative College Board applicants right through the crusade.

Gary White may also be reached at [email protected] or 863-802-7518. Practice on Twitter @garywhite13.

This text at first seemed on The Ledger: Nolte violated finance rules in Polk County College Board crusade | Criticism