Two candidates fined $1,000-plus for missing campaign finance reporting deadlines

Published 2:34 pm Monday, November 6, 2023

Isle of Wight County’s Registrar’s Office has fined two candidates running for local offices more than $1,000 for missing multiple deadlines for reporting their campaign finances to the state.

Laequinla Hunter, who’s running against Jason Maresh for the Windsor-centric District 4 seat on Isle of Wight County’s School Board, was late filing three of the six periodic financial reports candidates are required to file with the Virginia Department of Elections. According to a list of penalties shared by the Registrar’s Office, Hunter was fined $1,600, all of which had been paid as of Nov. 4.

Renee Rountree, who was the sole candidate to file by June 20 to get her name on the ballot for the Smithfield-centric District 1seat on Isle of Wight County’s Board of Supervisors, was fined $1,400 for two late filings, $400 of which had been paid as of Nov. 4.

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Virginia law mandates “a civil penalty” of up to $500 for a late or missing campaign finance report, and up to $1,000 for any subsequent late or missing filing. A 2020 Virginia Department of Elections document titled “Summary of Laws and Policies – Candidate Campaign Committees” specifies a fine of $100 for one to 15 days delinquency, $200 for 16-30 days, $300 for 31-45 days, $400 for 46-60 days and $500 for 61 or more days.

Chris Torre, a retired real estate developer and contractor, announced a write-in campaign against Rountree in September. He was fined, and has paid, $200 in October for having waited more than 10 days after he accepted his first donation to file his campaign committee paperwork.

Board of Supervisors candidate William McCarty and his opponent, Tracy Hendrix, each were fined, and as of Nov. 4 had paid, $100 for being late with a single financial report. Denise Tynes, who’s running against Brandi Perkins for the District 1 School Board seat, and Mark Wooster, who’s running against Timothy Mallory for the Carrollton-centric District 2 School Board seat, also were each fined $100 for being late with a single report. Each had paid the fine as of Nov. 4.

Joel Acree, who’s running unopposed for reelection to the District 4 supervisor seat, Gerald Gwaltney, who’s running unopposed for reelection as commissioner of the revenue, and Larry Darden and William Gwaltney, who are running for director of the soil and water conservation Peanut District, have each filed for exemptions from campaign finance reporting. Candidates can do so if they pledge to spend less than $1,000 and not solicit or accept funds from any source other than themselves.