The C.F.B. Explains Martinez

There appears to be some struggle over at the Campaign Finance Board to figure out how, exactly, to describe City Councilman Miguel Martinez’s use of matching funds, which the board ordered him to repay.

Today’s New York Times story has this quote:

“If these were genuine expenditures, the campaign was unable to produce documents that showed it,” said Eric Friedman, a spokesman for the board. “Nor were the vendors. And they didn’t come back to us with records that were convincing to the board.”

But late this afternoon, the C.F.B. sent out a statement, distancing themselves from what Friedman told the Times, without calling it factually incorrect. The clarification seems to be that Martinez did make expenditures and he did submit documents, but they were “self-created, non-contemporaneous documentation made to look like originals coming from the vendor." The release also says the campaign’s actions "did not rise to the level of fraud."

The C.F.B.’s statement is after the jump. If you have insight into this linguistic and legal contortion, please email me.

Here’s the CFB statement:

January 18, 2008—The Friday, January 18th New York Times article about the Campaign Finance Board’s determination regarding Miguel Martinez’ 2001 campaign included a quote from a Board spokesman that created an erroneous impression that the Board found that certain expenditures reported by the Martinez campaign did not actually occur. The Board did not make any such finding and believes the article was unfair to the candidate.

What the Board’s determination says is that “the Campaign submitted self-created, non-contemporaneous documentation made to look like originals coming from the vendor to represent authentic, contemporaneous records in an attempt to avoid a significant public funds repayment obligation.” The Board requires all campaigns to provide contemporaneous documentation from the vendors to support expenditures equal to or more than the amount of public funds that they received.

While the Board determined that the actions of the Campaign did not rise to the level of fraud, it did find that the Campaign committed many serious violations of the Campaign Finance Act and Board Rules rising to level of breach of certification requiring the return of all public funds received by the Campaign and assessed penalties of $44,780.

The C.F.B. Explains Martinez