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Three Fargo City Commission candidates fined for late campaign contribution filings

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Fargo City Commission candidates Tony Gehrig, Liz Maddock-Johnson and Lenny Tweeden have each been fined $100 for missing a deadline in filing their campaign finance disclosures. Forum file photos. 2 / 2

FARGO -- Three Fargo City Commission candidates -- including incumbent Tony Gehrig -- have been fined $100 for missing a deadline in filing their campaign finance disclosures.

The other two late candidates were Liz Maddock Johnson and Lenny Tweeden. All three candidates failed to meet the early May filing deadline, City Auditor Steve Sprague said. According to state law, fines escalate from $25 if paid within six days of the due date to $50 if paid within 11 days and jump to $100 for fines paid later, he said.

“I was just following through with state code,” Sprague added.

Before imposing the fines, city officials had sent a reminder to the candidates. “Those three candidates, I don’t know what happened,” Sprague said.

Gehrig said submitting the campaign contribution forms fell to the bottom of his to-do list.

“It was just an oversight, obviously unintentional,” he said, adding that he takes full responsibility. Once informed that the form was late, “I got it in in short order.”

Gehrig, who is seeking a second term on the commission, is also under scrutiny for some of his campaign yard signs. Sprague’s office was notified that some of Gehrig’s yard signs failed to disclose who paid for them, as required by state law.

North Dakota law requires that campaign signs that make a “value statement” -- such as claiming someone is the best candidate -- require disclosure of who paid for the sign. In order to investigate, someone would have to complain to the Cass County state’s attorney’s office, and nobody has complained, Sprague said.