campaign finance reports were due earlier this month. The Chesterton
Tribune reviewed the reports that have been filed and posted online as
of deadline today. Some candidates have not yet reported, according to the
Office of Elections & Registration.
In Chesterton, the
case remains that the Chesterton Firefighters Local 4600 political action
committee (4600 PAC) was the largest contributor. It was the sole
organization that funded the ouster of three incumbents in 2019--Dane Lafata,
Stephanie Kuziela, and Emerson Delaney.
In her 2019 annual,
Kuziela reported $1,117.95 cash-on hand with a $464.65 debt to herself. She
loaned $60.32 to herself in the final reporting period, bringing her
contributions to her own campaign to a year-to-date total of $626.88. She
also received $1,000 from The Coil Curtain Company LLC, in Chesterton.
who unseated Kuziela to be Chesterton’s new clerk-treasurer, reported
$315.23 cash on-hand with a $60 debt to herself. Udvare reported only two
donations in the final reporting period, which included in-kind donations
for newspaper ads ($115.50 and $251.80) from the 4600 PAC. The PAC was
Udvare’s sole donor throughout her campaign and after her election, having
donated a year-to-date total of $2,827.30, which included $1,700 direct and
Council member Bob Allison (D-3rd), who unseated Dane Lafata for 3rd ward
Chesterton Town Council in the 2019 primary, reported he received a
year-to-date total of $1,000 from the 4600 PAC and contributed a
year-to-date total of $600 to his campaign. Pre-primary and pre-election
period reports with more detail were not available for Allison. He reported
$281.45 cash on-hand.
The 4600 PAC also
contributed to Chesterton Town Council member Jennifer L. Fisher (I-5th),
who unseated Republican Emerson Delaney in November. Fisher reported $291.75
cash on-hand and had four donations in the final reporting period, all
in-kind for postcards or newspaper ads. The PAC contributed $480.30 in three
donations and Tracey Morris, of Hobart, contributed $59.91.
campaign was otherwise self-funded and bolstered by the 4600 PAC, which
contributed a year-to-date total of $2,670.30, including $1,250 direct and
Delaney reported no
donations and no expenses for the final reporting period. He reported no
cash on-hand and disbanded his committee.
council member Jim Ton (R-1st), who ran unopposed in 2019, reported one
donation in the final reporting period: $94.05 in-kind for newspaper ads
from the 4600 PAC. Ton ended the reporting period with no cash on-hand.
Porter and Burns
Republican Jim Burge self-funded his campaign, with a year-to-date total of
$3,169.77. He donated $1,758.77 to himself in the final reporting period,
which he spent mostly on advertising and campaign events. He ended the
reporting period with no cash-on hand and disbanded his committee after
David Phillips won the seat.
no contributions in the final reporting period and $150 from the Porter
Parks Department for a return of security deposit for hall rental. He spent
$414.30 on groceries, postage, and printing, and paid a $420.95 debt to
himself to end the year with no cash-on hand.
Porter Town Council
Vice-president Bill Lopez reported no activity in the final reporting
period. Council President Greg Stinson’s only activity was repaying a $500
loan he made to himself during the 2019 pre-primary period. Both ended 2019
with no cash on-hand.
Burns Harbor Town
Council member Toni Biancardi contributed $385.12 to her own campaign, which
she spent on printing and postage to end the reporting period with no cash
Clerk-treasurer Jane Jordan reported $898.05 cash-on hand. Jordan, who ran
unopposed in 2019, self-funded, contributing a year-to-date total of $675.
Local 4600 PAC
The 4600 PAC’s
activity wound down post-election. The PAC reported $405 in non-itemized
contributions and spent $1,935.06, which included two charges ($132 and
$528.06) from the Chesterton Tribune for advertising. The PAC also
spent $900 at Craft House and paid Michigan City resident Joseph Durk $375
council member Andy Bozak reported $14.52 in non-itemized
contributions and ended the year with $22.12 cash on-hand and $462.39 in
unspecified debts. Bozak is currently a candidate for an at-large seat on
member Dan Whitten (D-At-large) reported no contributions and $84 in
non-itemized expenses for the final reporting period. Whitten reported
$12,246 cash on-hand with a $4,453 debt to himself. He is seeking reelection
member Jeff Larson (R-At-large) ended 2019 with no cash on-hand and $2,163
in unspecified debts. Larosn is running for North District County
Commissioner, challenging incumbent Republican Jim Biggs in the primary.
Biggs reported one
contribution of $50 in the final reporting period. He ended 2019 with
$225.11 cash on-hand and $4,705.94 in debts, which includes a $2,505.94 loan
to himself and $2,200 to Jacksonville, Fla.-based Majority Strategies LLC
Blaney (D-South) told the Chesterton Tribune via phone this morning that she
had no contributions and no expenses in 2019. Blaney is running for
reelection this year. She has one outstanding debt of $13,000 from loaning
to her own campaign in the past.
annual report shows she had contributions and expense this year; however,
Blaney said the report she filed features old numbers, and she’s in the
process of amending it.
Not all elected
officials are required to file campaign finance reports. Those running for
elected offices that pay $5,000 per year or greater are required to file.
Candidates seeking less lucrative offices are expected to file continuously
if they choose to open a committee but are not required to file.
Since the Town of
Burns Harbor approved raises for Town Council members, both candidates for
Burns Harbor Town Council and Porter Town Council will be required to file
starting in the next local election cycle. Chesterton Town Council members
are paid less than $5,000 per year, according to the Indiana Gateway.
PACS file campaign finance activity
with the local county election board if all of their contributions are
related to local candidates/public questions in municipal elections. They
file with the Indiana Election Division if they are supporting or opposing
state candidates or statewide public questions, according to the 2020
Indiana Campaign Finance Manual.