Campaign finance reports are out! Who's going to analyze them?


I was so bored at the BoCC meeting when they were talking about sidewalks and laboring through the SUP approval process, I read my opponents' reports and even some of the TC ones.  What sort of analysis are you looking for?  Summary of income/expenses, biggest donors, what else? 

"Storrow The Surprise Frontrunner In CHTC Fundraising""Elizabeth Friend Reporting" 

"Of the eight council candidates, Jason Baker, Donna Bell and Carl Schuler have filed to participate in the town’s "Voter-Owned Election" program, which provides public campaign financing for candidates who promise to limit their fundraising to small donations from Chapel Hill voters."

I hadn't realized Carl was voter owned prior to now.  A qualifying contribution is now on its way!   

If you're surprised Lee is the fundraising frontrunner, you haven't been paying attention.  He said at the start he wasn't doing VOE because he needed more $ to get his message out as a newcomer.  He obviously has state-wide ties which gives a larger pool to draw from, and there are a fair # of small contributions (students?) as well.  I'd say he's worked harder than anyone in this race -- will be interesting to see what he spends that $ on.  Maybe a Matt C-worthy party!

Lee has 27 listed contribs from Buncombe County addresses (Asheville and some smaller towns there) totalling $2100+. This is no surprise, Lee is an Asheville native (as is Jason Baker for that matter). Some are from his family, others from a veritable whose who of Buncombe County politicians.

Since Gerry commented, I was reading my post again.  I can't change it now, but I want to be clear it is CHL that I'm accusing of a misleading headline, not Jake.

I thought Lee's total number of donors really stood out. He had about 100 more contributors than anyone else.

And do they live in the Triangle ? The data should be available since most were online or by check .

is some of the most stringent in the country and only requires full reporting of donations of 28 dollars or more. That being said, Lee has more Orange County donors than anyone else has total. I don't think there is any reason to be worried about who Lee's donors are. 

Evan,First of all, congrats on the hard work and multiple donations , Y'all have rasied a lot of money . And it is hard work. I know .... Yes, I am familiar with the reporting requirements .  I am surprised there have not been more comments about how much money has been raised outside of the Triangle . That is one  reason why we have VOE because local people wanted the local campaigns to be funded by local citizens .   By reporting laws, a candidate is required to collect the data but not report it if less 28 dollars .  Why would not one disclose who and where their moneny is coming from ?  There is operating within the letter of law and the intent of the law .  One must assume that the same percentages of undisclosed donors are  the same as disclosed donors . So, most of the dollars and contributors are not from local donors . In an act of good faith and honor, just disclose all the names and addresses,  if it does not matter who contributed the money .

Jon, I thought you were against VOE? Why would you site that program? You can't have it both ways. Lee is not taking part of the VOE program and stated that from the beginning of his campaign. AS I recall in the 2009 election you were one of the candidates who constantly made fun of the VOE program, laughing at folks that were taking part of it and those who supported us. I hope if you become a council member you learn to assume NOTHING. Assumtions may work in your mind, but are very dangerous  when voting on important issues.

Penny,Are you for disclosure or not ? I read your statement  to say that you don't care where and/or  from who a candidate receives their funds . 

Didn't say that Jon. What I said was that you can't have it both ways. Lee's campaign is doing what the law tells him to do. It's his choice to submit an aggregated report. I don't believe Lee is hiding anything. You are the one making assumptions.

They received their donations . I think it matters and historically it has mattered to posters on OP . I look to Mayor Mark's campaign report as an example of how it should be done . He disclosed every name and address of every donor  . Was it required by law, NO  ! Another example of why Mark is a good leader and he is trusted  ... I ask you again, do you believe in disclosure ? You failed to answer that direct question ...

Jon, you are missing my point. It's not about what I think, it's about you sitting on both sides of the fence. You can't make fun of the  VOE program,  and then make requests that are in line with the VOE program. You can't have it both ways.As you know I was a VOE candidate so you can reply to the question using those principals. 

For the record, I'm not speaking for Jon, but the answer seems pretty doggone simple. It's very easy Penny . . . . one can absolutely support full disclosure of any and all campaign donations, while opposing the use of the public coffers to fund campaigns.  Just because an oak is a tree doesn't make every tree an oak.

Both Mark and I reported every single contributor in our campaign finance reports including address and occupation no matter how small.  The lowest dollar amount I reported was $10.00.  In fact the Daily Tar Heel printed a list of all our donors on October 8th. Mark. of course, used Voter Owned Election funds and I did not but we both chose to report all our donors for the sake of transparency

You can check my report. Every person who gave me a donation is listed. That's right $5.00 up to $20.00, all listed.

I believe all candidates for Chapel Hill Town Council should dislcose all donor information . I believe  in  an objective process where everyone is treated the same , equally and fairly . I believe that Lee has worked very hard and raised a lot of money . Congrats to him.I believe Lee  will disclose that donor info in good faith in next 48 hours . Do you believe in disclosure ? YES OR NO ?  

As one Chapel Hill voter, transparency in government is very important. At the first Chapel Hill 2020 meeting (the only one I could attend), there was a sense that Chapel Hill is different in a way that distinguishes us from other places. Environment, transportation, diversity, yes these are paramount. Right up there for me, however, is also transparency (an issue I don't think will make it into a vision statement, but, oh well). As Jon points out, Mark K. sets the bar in the right place: regardless of legal requirements, he has a history of providing full disclosure when it comes to campaign contributions. Whether Jon approves or disapproves of VOE is an entirely separate matter and has no bearing on this issue, for me at least. And BTW, I think Jason Baker is a very strong candidate. His community campaign support and positions are impressive.

If Jon DeHart is so transparent why did he participate in this closed meeting. It's that double standard again. You can't say one thing and do another. Just using the word transparent to capture votes doesn't work if you are indeed not transparent.

transparency  - sorry for the T

about your reports as it seems that you, too, went beyond the letter of the law. I can't speak to Jon's (or Matt's if I remember correctly) participation in a closed meeting as I only know what I read on this site. Maybe they knew it would be closed and maybe they didn't. Either way, the folks who called the meeting have a right to be heard by elected officials and by candidates. If you want to criticize these neighbors and their demands for transparency from the shelter, town and university, well, I think you have a point. I don't see these two examples (pro or against VOE and invited attendance to a meeting) as defining a candidate as being transparent or not. A candidate's choice to fully disclose donors is relevant. Candidates have a right to accept donations from Chapel Hill, Asheville or anywhere else. I want to know about it in a timely manner so I can make an informed choice at the polls. I certainly don't want an anonymous PAC, such as was responsible for the last minute uncoordinated (to use Mark's term) mailing in the last mayoral election, to operate in Chapel Hill. It's legal, but I'm hoping for more.

I believe that all candidates running for Chapel Hill Town Council should disclose from whom and where  they receive their funds .    

I am not a Lady, I am a WOMAN and this conversation is over.

Good for you, Penny. Let's move on. 

Evan, do you plan to release more data about Lee's contributors? It would be very helpful, and would be a good way to show his support for VOE principles since he's not participating in the program. 


After the feedback we've gotten from folks on the site we have decided to release some additional information about our donors. Look for a blog post by Lee in the next day or so, we are confident it will answer the questions people have raised.

He assured me that all donors would be disclosed in the next day or so  .  I think his intentions were good, just a lack of experience . Should be easy to provide since he is required to collect all the data by law.

Do you have inside information you're not sharing?  Because from the report, you know the # of contributions, not contributors.  You can make some assumptions because if an individual gives more than $50 total, he/she needs to be identified, but there could be 10 $5 contributions from the same person.  That's a big difference from assuming 1 to 1.

James- I should have mentioned I am Lee's campaign manager and was involved in putting together the report. Also worth noting that when I speak about donor #'s I am referring to unique contributors.Sorry for any confusion  

I am really impressed by Lee's ability to organize. I have heard some say his mom and dad helped quite a bit like it's a bad thing. BTW I do not know if that is true, and do not care. Mom and Dad should help when you are young. While I made a decision to not fund raise and pay for my election needs, I applaud Lee's ability to get so many people involved in helping him. I like many cannot wait to see how he spends the money. At 24 I would have thrown a huge party. I think Lee  will be more responsible. Congrats Lee!  I tell people about you all the time.

Lee has a small army of campaign volunteers. (I know - they knocked on my door, as well as thousands of others.) I have never seen or heard him or anyone else mention his parents. Conversely I can think of some (sucessful) candidates in their 50s who got campaign donations form their out-of-state parents and no-one thought that was even worth mentioning.Your comment seems like a backhanded way of digging at Lee's age, but he is older than Mark Chilton was when he was first elected to a very successful first term on the Chapel Hill Town Council in 1991 (then popularly re-elected in 1995). Lee easily has more experience working in the Chapel Hill community than some of the other candidates, including yourself as far as I can tell.Thank goodness there many twenty-somethings in Chapel Hill with a better work ethic and more community dedication than you say you had, Laney! ;-)

All I was doing was congratulating him. I am really saddened that you would take a swipe at me for saying something nice about a fellow candidate. I meant what I said, no malice or backhandedness intended. Lee impresses me. I don't care about his age, he is more fit than some of the guys much older than me to hold the office.  maybe if you knew me better you would understand my intent instead of assuming and lashing out. I felt that he was beingbullied by some others and wanted to voice my support for him, I hate bullying. Guess I did not do it in a way that you approve of. 

I agree with Laney. I saw his response as positive towards Lee.

If I'm a little sensitive on this issue, it's because I was a twenty-something candidate once myself. Anyone who read The Independent Weekly during the 1999 campaign can tell you how easy it is to act like you are giving positive attention to a candidate while actually reinforcing extremely negative messages to voters.I can't claim to know your intentions, Laney. But I think it would be much more appropriate (and complimentary, if that's what you're going for) to talk about Lee's experience, positions, skills, or articulateness.

I gave to Lee's campaign because he invited me to a fundraiser in Carrboro. My only other contribs since leaving Chapel Hill allmost 30 years ago were to Jason Baker in '05 tho I was a grad student that year. I also gave to all 47 of Joe Herzenberg's campaigns

If Oct 4 was a reporting date, why are there so many missing reports on the website? Is there a penalty if someone doesn't meet the deadline?I've heard many positive observations and reports on Lee. But I have to agree with Jon. If this community, as represented by it's elected officials, believes in VOE, then the principles that underlie VOE (especially transparency) should be expected of all candidates, whether they are accepting public funds or not. Expectations doesn't mean they have to be met, but setting high standards generally works.I imagine many of Lee's donors are students who live here in town even though they list their parents' home as their permanent residence. I think it was Jason, or some equally conscientious student, a few years back who kept his voter registration at his parents home because his vote carried more weight there. Sort of a dual citizenship.

If you don't intend to raise or spend $1000, you don't have to file any detailed reports.  It looks to me like Braxton is the only one whose form isn't on the site yet.

Have been posted to the SBOE website for CH Town Council .

Only those who raise money have to report. Jim didn't raise any funds 4 years ago and he isn't raising any this time either. 


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