A hearing in Hall’s case is set for next week.
Council member Jonathan Hall, who represents District 1, failed to file multiple mandatory financial reports on time — or at all — during election cycles in 2018 and 2019, according to a letter sent to Hall in December by Bureau of Ethics and Campaign Finance Executive Director Bill Young.
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Of the financial reports that Hall’s campaign did file, some lack required donor and vendor information and itemization of expenses. Some contain unexplained discrepancies deemed “troubling” by Assistant District Attorney General Brian Ewald, who conducted a preliminary investigation into the complaints last summer.
Attempts to obtain comment from Hall were unsuccessful.
“There are large quantities of money spent on extremely general categories which, without explanation or proper itemization pursuant to the campaign finance regulations, could have the appearance of impropriety,” Ewald wrote in a Sept. 28 memo to District Attorney General Glenn Funk.
Ewald’s investigation notes Hall did not respond to three letters requesting his response to the detailed allegations. Two of these letters were hand-delivered to the Metro Council office and Hall’s home.
“The inaccuracies, omissions, and inability to comply with the regulations are difficult to pass off as basic sloppiness or unfamiliarity with the requirements,” Ewald wrote. “Mr. Hall’s lack of interest in responding to the sworn complaint provides no insight as to these failures.”
The allegations stem from a complaint filed to the District Attorney’s office by two residents of Hall’s district last April. At Ewald’s suggestion, Funk’s office referred the complaint to the Registry of Election Finance on Sept. 30. Hall will have the opportunity to address the 14 allegations against him at a 10 a.m. hearing before the state’s Registry of Election Finance on Thursday.
The registry board will hear the allegations and Hall will have the opportunity to respond and explain any discrepancies. The board can then choose to dismiss the complaint, order a full investigative audit or issue civil penalties of up to $10,000 per violation. If the board does issue civil penalties, Hall would not be eligible to run for public office again until any penalties are paid and any required corrections are made.
The complaints against Hall will also be discussed at a meeting of the Metro Board of Ethical Conduct at 1 p.m. the same day. Reach reporter Cassandra Stephenson at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (731) 694-7261. Follow Cassandra on Twitter at @CStephenson731.