State regulators have fined Omaha City Councilman Ben Gray for omitting information from a 2011 campaign finance report.
The Nebraska Accountability and Disclosure Commission levied a $250 civil penalty against the north Omaha representative last week.
Gray acknowledged that his report failed to include complete information on campaign expenses of more than $250.
“There was no money missing, there was no misappropriation of funds,” Gray told The World-Herald. “There was something I should have filed that I didn't file.”
“I won't be the first one (to do that), and I won't be the last one,” he said.
Gray declined to comment further.
The penalty ends an investigation launched in August when Patrick McPherson, a Republican Party official, filed a complaint. Gray, a Democrat, is seeking re-election this year.
McPherson said Gray failed to list all expenses of more than $250 on his 2011 report; he failed to list all who contributed more than $250; and he spent campaign funds for unlawful purposes. The commission dismissed the last two allegations.
Gray agreed to pay a fine and file a revised report as part of a settlement.
“I won't say that I'm not a partisan guy,” McPherson said in an interview. “You can attack the attacker, but the fact is he's the one that didn't do things in the way it's prescribed that he should do them.”
McPherson said a City Council member informed him that Gray was scrambling to finish his campaign finance report last year, shortly before a filing deadline. McPherson said he reviewed council members' finance reports and filed his complaint when he saw no one else had raised questions about Gray's finances.
Gray told the commission that he didn't list all the expenses because “receipts necessary to complete that section were not presented to his accountants” when the forms were filled out, according to commission documents. He said he did not notice the omission when the statement was filed.
In January, Gray and his wife, Freddie, were reported to owe about $60,000 in back income taxes from 1996 to 2011. The councilman said the family was in the process of repaying the debt.
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