Porter County councilman corrects campaign finance reports

2013-03-22T17:30:00Z 2013-03-22T19:07:06Z Porter County councilman corrects campaign finance reportsBob Kasarda bob.kasarda@nwi.com, (219) 548-4345 nwitimes.com

VALPARAISO | Porter County Councilman Jim Biggs, R-1st, filed amended versions Friday of campaign finance reports from his unsuccessful bid last year for county commissioner.

The action was taken in response to an anonymous complaint about the original forms that was mailed out last week to local media and allegedly to election officials, and county, state and federal legal authorities.

"I take full responsibility for that report not being filled out properly," Biggs said.

Biggs said the reports, which included one for the primary election cycle and another for the year, contained mistakes and omissions because they had been put together in a rush just before the deadline. He said he was out of town until shortly before the annual report was due and opted to get something in on time rather than miss the deadline.

While he has not read any of the allegations of wrongdoing in the anonymous complaint, Biggs said there was no intention by him or his campaign treasurer to attempt any sort of deception.

"It was simply a mistake," he said.

The amended reports contain several modifications, including the addition of an in-kind contribution of $7,150 from Golden Technologies of Valparaiso to create a campaign website, Biggs said.

While the anonymous complaint claims Golden Technologies is or has been a vendor with the county, Biggs said he is not aware of that and would play no role, anyway, as a council member in signing claims or hiring the firm.

The updated reports also include details from a fundraiser, including contributions of nearly $1,400, he said.

Biggs said he wrote a letter of apology to county election board members.

Republican member Patrick Lyp said he expects the issue to be taken up during the board's next regular meeting in April.

Biggs said it is his guess that the anonymous complaint, which was received in a box containing several official documents and a detailed analysis, is the result of his role late last year in passing a county budget that cut costs and denied employee pay raises.

"When you make decisions like that, you're not going to be real popular with a lot of people," he said.

Biggs said he is not mad at the person or people who compiled the complaint.

"I'm mad at me," he said. "I've learned a very valuable lesson here."

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