Gilbert election officials have fined the political committee pushing to recall Mayor Steve Berman for violating state campaign finance laws.
The committee, End Corruption in Gilbert, was ordered to pay the town a $1,391 civil fine for raising and spending money on the campaign before the group had filed required paperwork.
According to a letter sent to the committee by attorney David A. Pennartz, the recall group violated state law by spending money on campaign signs before filing a statement of organization with the town clerk’s office.
The town hired Pennartz as outside special counsel to investigate the campaign finance complaint, filed in February by Daryl Colvin, treasurer of Berman’s campaign committee. That complaint argued that the political action committee looking to recall Berman purchased campaign signs illegally and had them on hand before the group was legally formed and the recall effort was started.
The committee’s leader, Fred Phillis, told town officials he purchased the signs in anticipation of a recall and then donated them to the political committee on the same day the paperwork was filed.
Phillis said his group is considering its legal options and whether it will challenge the fine.
“This is clearly an outrage,” Phillis said. “It’s assault on our constitutional rights.”
The fine is based on what the investigator concluded was the cost of the political signs.