Senate hopeful Salling fined $250 for not filing June finance report
Wednesday, 23 July 2014 11:24
 by Ben Boehl

    Graham “Butch” Henry wants to know why Republican state Senate candidate Johnny Ray Salling has trouble meeting deadlines.
    Henry, a longtime local Democratic activist and prominent member of local Democratic clubs — and an avid supporter of Salling’s Democratic opponent, Del. John Olszewski Jr. — told The Eagle he wants people to know that the public record shows Salling’s campaign being fined for two recent violations of financial reporting rules.
    According to state Board of Elections records, Salling failed to file his most recent annual report before the Jan. 15 deadline. A $170 fine was imposed but later waived after Salling filed his paperwork on Feb. 10.
    Salling was able to get his first set of pre-primary reports in before the May 27 deadline, but records show that Salling never filed the second pre-primary report due on June 13 and was fined $250.
    “When you run for office, you have certain responsibilities. The most basic one is to file and follow the rules,” Henry argued.
    “The rules include telling the people how much money you’ve raised and where it came from. It’s about being an honest, stand-up person. John Salling ... is either not capable of filing these reports or simply does not care enough to do so.”
    Salling responded that his campaign treasurer Mary Ellen Berger did not file the paperwork on time. Berger, he said, has sick parents in Virginia and was helping them when the reports were due.
    “My financial secretary was late with the report. She was out of town at the time and truly forgot about it,” Salling said, adding that the June 13 reports have been filed and promising that all future reports will be processed on time.
When asked about Henry questioning his ability to serve as an elected official  if he can not get his reports in on time, Salling again pointed to the unfortunate circumstances regarding Berger’s sick parents and asked critics to be understanding.
    “I would hope they would understand the situation and would hope they have a conscience or a heart,” he noted.
    The next round of campaign finance reports are required by Aug. 26. These reports will be the first look into candidate’s financial numbers since the June 24 primary.