As of press time, Charles Walker has filed a campaign financial report.
One report to be exact.
One of twenty that are missing, late, delinquent, and/or deficient.
His report can be seen online at www.elections.ny.gov.
Nineteen more reports and the 18 year veteran of the city council will be up to speed.
Last week, in our Feb. 24th story, "Walker Fails to Disclose Dozens of Prominent Campaign Donors," Walker told the Reporter, "Over the next few days, you will see all the information begin to go up on the state's website… In a weeks' time you will be able to review it all….. Around by the (Feb) 28th, we should have it all in."
While not exactly true to his word, the councilman filed, on March 2, his 2013, "32 day pre primary report summary."
2013 was an election year for Walker. Several more reports for that campaign season are overdue.
Yet, in one sense this represents an achievement - it was the first time in Walker's 18 year history on the council that he has been known to disclose a single donation.
Walker's 2013, 32 pre-primary report shows he received $1,973 in campaign contributions, apparently all generated during a single fund raiser - held on June 11, 2013.
The record shows contributions such as $100 from Dennis Virtuoso, $100 from the United Steelworkers and $100 from the Niagara County Building Trades Council. Norstar Development, United Steel Workers, Jimmie Seright, Stephanie Cowart, John A. Cooper and others made donations from $100-200 - as is typical of a fund raiser where tickets are $100 a piece.
The report raises some questions.
Why has the councilman - with as many as 20 campaign finance reports missing - chosen to by submit this lone report?
Was this report filed by Walker himself or was it tabulated by his campaign treasurer?
Election law calls for all campaign money to be received and accounted for by a designated campaign treasurer.
Last we heard the councilman no longer had a campaign treasurer although he had initially tried to lay the delinquency of his reports at the feet of his former treasurer who, as Walker told the Niagara Gazette, was having trouble understanding the electronic filing requirements of the NYS board of Elections.
Also of note is that this report is a pre primary report, and includes no information as to what happened with his campaign account from the primary to the general election of 2013, or a final wrap up, post election report, which would have been due on Jan 15, 2014.
None of these reports are filed.
This sole report represents less than five per cent of the missing financial information required to satisfy election law.
The report also appears to fail to disclose at least one donation - a $200 donation on April 30, 2013 from the Niagara Falls Fire Officers PAC, that the Reporter uncovered independently.
Prior to this week, Walker filed only four reports since 2000. All four - dated July 2009, January 2010, July 2010, and January 2013 - claim "no activity."
As we reported last week, while Walker filed "no activity" for his Jan 15, 2010 filing - he received at least eight donations totaling $3,750.
The Reporter has also discovered some 40 other donations Walker received but has yet to report to the NYS State Board of Elections. There may be hundreds more.
While some office holders and candidates, on occasion, have been known to file reports that are late by weeks or months, Walker has failed to file financial report for more than a decade and through four election cycles.
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.
Starting in Oct. 2013, The Buffalo News, the Niagara Gazette and the Reporter have questioned Walker about when he was going to file.
His standard answer is, "I'm working on it" and "I'm getting around to it.
From the President to US Senator to Governor and right down to the local elected law maker, everyone has to file detailed and accurate finance reports.
We wonder how Walker has been able to sit as a council member all these years - for so long that he has earned lifetime health insurance benefits - an exceptional benefit for the part time position of a city council member - as he oversaw city government and all of the timely requirements and demands that government requires.