Campaign Finance

State election board overturns $5,500 fine for former Miami Commissioner Richard P. Dunn II

 

crabin@MiamiHerald.com

A state elections board has ruled that the Rev. Richard P. Dunn II does not have to pay a $5,500 fine for submitting a late campaign treasurer’s report.

Dunn traveled to Tallahassee on May 6 to testify before the Florida Elections Commission, and persuaded the panel to override the fine handed down by Miami elections coordinator Dwight Danie during a November City Commission race.

Danie fined Dunn $500 a day after determining that he was at fault for submitting the report 11 days past the Nov. 1 deadline.

FEC board members gave Dunn five minutes to argue his case. He said he accepted full blame for his paperwork’s being late, but he explained there was enough of an “unusual circumstance” to overturn the fine because his treasurer, Claytosha Owens-Fields, quit just before the third quarter report was due.

An “unusual circumstance” is a technical term used by the FEC that allows leeway to a candidate for certain campaign-finance reporting errors.

Dunn told the board Owens-Fields became unnerved when she saw her name in print, and quit the campaign. He said he had to talk her into returning, which was why the report was late but still signed by her.

The board voted 5-3 to overturn Danie’s decision to fine the Dunn campaign.

Dunn, senior pastor at Faith Community Baptist Church, lost the November election for Miami’s District 5 City Commission seat to political newcomer Keon Hardemon.

Dunn had been appointed to the District 5 post twice by commissioners. Another time, he won a special election after a commissioner was removed from office.

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