Computer glitch caused a filing error, Schweighart says
CHAMPAIGN -- Mayor Jerry Schweighart says he reported a $1,000 campaign contribution the day he received it but that a software glitch prevented the donation from being recorded until Friday morning.
Under Illinois' newly revised election law, contributions of $1,000 or more are supposed to be reported to the State Board of Elections within at least five business days. But a $1,000 contribution from Donald Dodds Real Estate of Champaign, dated March 8, wasn't reported on the Elections Board's website until 8:09 a.m. Friday.
Because the contribution came within the 30-day period before the election, it was supposed to be reported within two business days.
"We reported it March 8. I have a receipt from the state election board that we reported it March 8," Schweighart said. "When we found out there was a problem, we called them and they said it's not in their computer and apparently one button wasn't hit. We talked to the election guy when we filed it and I have a receipt that says we filed it March 8."
The contribution is politically significant because Schweighart's challenger, Don Gerard, was criticized last week for ignoring the same law. His campaign failed to report two separate contributions on time both from Joe's Brewery, a Campustown bar owned by Doug Larson, Gerard's biggest backer. One was for $4,000 made on Feb. 3 and the other for $6,000 made on March 1. They weren't reported until March 28.
Gerard said last week that he was unaware he had missed the filing deadline.
Schweighart said Saturday that he believes he followed the law.
"Somehow it did not take," he said. "We got this receipt from them and we thought it was done. Then we didn't find out until recently ... because we ran a check on our records and it didn't show. So we called them and they said this happens all the time."
The board of elections office was closed Saturday. Schweighart's contention could not be independently verified.
The mayor said his daughter-in-law, Dawn Hatchel, filed the electronic report with the board of elections.
"She didn't have a lot of experience with this and that's why she walked through it with the guy from the election board," Schweighart said.
He said he believes the $1,000 contribution which he said is actually two separate $500 contributions from Donald and Newt Dodds is the only large single contribution he has received.
Neither Schweighart nor Gerard has offered to voluntarily disclose all campaign donations before Tuesday's election.