The Florida Elections Commission says current Springfield mayor, Robert Walker, violated election codes 25 times in his campaign two years ago. More than half of those violations involved $18,000 in illegal campaign funds.
About $10,000 of Walker's contributions was from unidentified sources. Cash donations of more than $100 are a violation of election codes, so each of these cash contributions would be illegal.
Election law also prohibits checks of more than $500. Walker's own construction company wrote an $8,700 contribution check. That's also a violation of that law.
Some of these donations were not deposited in his campaign fund and he failed to put them in his treasury report. The commission says 10 of the 25 violations involved falsifying treasury reports. Walker acted as his own campaign treasurer. The elections commission says he reported money that was not deposited into the campaign fund.
Walker also faces two violations involving his use of Springfield’s postage meter. Apparently he used more than $2800 in city postage, but didn’t have enough campaign funds to reimburse that money. He was assessed two overdraft charges, which is also an election code violation. Walker later reimbursed the city for most of the postage.
Walker says some of these mistakes were from being overwhelmed jumping from a small city to a large county campaign.
"It really got overwhelming and I had to be my campaign manager, my own treasurer, everything I tried to do it myself. It got to a point that volunteers started trying to help me. I had other people try to help me and bless their hearts, they were trying to help me. Well I signed the reports to be accurate and correct without really going back and checking to see if they were. That's my fault, and I admit it."
A hearing will be set for Walker to go before the election commission to determine his punishment. Walker could be fined $1,000 per violation. If the commission decides some of these laws were knowingly and willfully broken, the fine can be tripled.
Walker is a veteran of several campaigns, so that might work against him.