Councilman Charles Walker, currently in his eighteenth year in office, has yet to file campaign finance reports that are now nearly two years overdue.
Walker is scheduled to appear on the Vince Anello Show Tuesday (February 3) at 10am over WJJL radio, 1440 on the AM dial.
Anello told the Niagara Falls Reporter that he intends to ask Walker if he has filed his disclosure forms when he appears on the air.
"I told Charles that I hope he doesn't embarrass himself again by saying he hasn't yet filed," Anello said.
On December 18, Walker appeared on the Anello show and when a caller asked, "Have you filed your financials yet?" Walker said, "Yeah, we're getting to that."
New York State election law requires all candidates for elected office from local town board members to governor to file finance reports or risk fines and/or jail time.
By failing to file disclosure forms, Walker is in violation of New York State lection law14-126 (1): "Any candidate who willfully and knowingly fails to file required forms can be fined $1000 per failure." In addition (EL 14-126(4) provides that a candidate can be charged with a misdemeanor."
Anello isn't the only one questioning Walker. The Niagara Falls Reporter, the Buffalo News, and Niagara Gazette have written about Walker's failure to put on record what campaign donations he received and how he used those donations.
This week, sources told us that political activist and Niagara Gazette columnist Ken Hamilton will present to the council a request for a resolution calling on Walker to file his disclosure forms.
In Hamilton's proposed resolution-to - be considered- which the Reporter has heard narrated in draft form - it asks the council to resolve to publicly ask Walker to file his disclosures in order to make clear who he received donations from in light of the fact that Walker voted to support certain developers and to exempt the Niagara Falls Housing Authority for costs associated with the new trash disposal plan, something Hamilton said cost taxpayers $138,000.
It is not known as of press time whether any council member will adopt the resolution and bring it before the council for a vote, but Hamilton is said to be "likely" to present the proposal during the public speaking portion of the next council meeting- February 2 - the day before Walker's scheduled Anello radio appearance.
Records show that all four of the other council members have filed their disclosure forms.
From sources other than Walker, The Reporter has learned that the councilman received contributions from at least the Niagara Falls Fire Officers political action committee, $1,250; Niagara Falls Firefighters political action committee $1,250; International Union of Operating Engineers Local 463 $1,000; Niagara County Democratic Committee $1,200.
These latest calls for Walker to file, follow a spate of publicity over several years.
When the Buffalo News asked Walker - on Oct 30, 2013 - a year and three months ago - just before Walker's election - why he was the only council candidate not to file disclosure reports during the 2013 campaign season, Walker said he would "check with the two people helping to manage his campaign about the unfilled paperwork."
Six months ago, (July 29) a Gazette story titled "Charles Walker hasn't filed campaign finance reports since early 2013" read, "Walker acknowledged that his filings were not up to date when reached by phone Wednesday and said he is working on getting the matter resolved. 'I have to sit down this week or next week to get that figured out'."
Walker blamed the non-filing on his "campaign treasurer", who he named as Isaac Williams, and a mix-up in the computerized filing process. Walker said Williams didn't know how to use the computer to file.
The Reporter, in an Aug. 3 article, "Walker blames 'Treasurer' Who Says He Had No Part In It!" explained that Walker's alleged campaign treasurer, Williams, denied any connection to the councilman's filing difficulties or to Walker's campaign account.
Williams told the Reporter he had never been asked by Walker to file his disclosures and that he knows how to use the computer, and is an IT specialist for Unifrax.
Three months ago, in a Reporter article (October 21) titled, "Won't You Come Clean Charley Walker" we wrote, "He owes it to the people of this city to quickly reveal how much money he got during the last campaign and from whom and how he spent it."
A month and a half ago, a Gazette editorial, "Campaign reform requires enforcement," (Dec 18) wrote, "Walker has consistently failed to file records pertaining to his political campaign with the state board of elections as required by law. He has not filed the required documents since January 2013, before the six-term councilman's successful re-election bid last year."
If Walker does not cancel his appearance on the Anello show, Walker will have the opportunity to make clear exactly what has taken place with his campaign financials.
Walker could use a portion, if not the entire Anello show appearance, to inform the voters as to the state of his campaign finances and explain why it took so long for him to correct the record.
He could do the same when Hamilton appears before the council.
As an alternative, he could simply file the disclosure forms and end the matter.
There is but one book of election laws in New York State and if everyone from the governor to the local dogcatcher has to abide by those laws then so must Charles Walker.
|Rumor has it that local song parody writer Pistol Pete Niagara is working on a song titled “Won’t You Come Clean Charles Walker” based on the old standard Bill Bailey.