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Manchester Alderman Violates Ethics Rules

A Manchester resident voices his concerns, but Ward Three Alderman John Diehl said he won't address the Missouri Ethics Commission's finding publicly until January.

The Missouri Ethics Commission sanctioned Manchester Alderman John Diehl for campaign finance violations during his April 2010 candidacy.

At a recent board of aldermen meeting, Manchester resident Dale Schmid, who initiated the investigation, told the board he wanted the findings addressed with the public (see enclosed statement in the PDF portion of this article).

However, Diehl, who is up for reelection in April 2012 and has filed for reelection, tells Town and Country - Manchester Patch he won’t address the issue publicly until January.

In October, the ethics commission found Diehl and his campaign committee filed a report misrepresenting the amount of money they had received and spent. Diehl also turned in two campaign finance forms late.

The ethics commission wrote that Diehl and his committee “knowingly” committed these three violations in its report.

Candidates follow a strict schedule of reports and paperwork communicating how much money they’ve received and spent during an election. Diehl turned in his pre-election report ten days past the due date and his post-election report four days after the due date, according to the commission. 

Diehl also filed a report called a “Statement of Limited Activity,” which says a candidate has neither received nor spent more than $500 during the reporting period. Diehl had received $809.37 in loans and spent $2,685.13, and he amended the report a month later to show the accurate dollar amounts.

Patch readers can view the ethics commission ruling in the PDF portion of this article.

Patch contacted Diehl who said he would not discuss the issue until a public announcement in January. He downplayed the violations as “a report being sent in a day late.”

Diehl originally said he would not address the issue publicly as “it’s a closed case now.”

“I don’t think it’s anything to report, to be honest,” he said.

But after resident Dale Schmid submitted the enclosed letter to the Manchester Board of Aldermen, Diehl announced he would make a public statement in January.

Schmid’s letter expresses concerns that since 2009, three Manchester aldermen—Diehl, Michael Clement and former alderman Janet Steinbrenner—have been found in violation of campaign finance laws “meant to protect the public.”

As previously reported by Patch,  he spent mailing campaign literature supporting Diehl, Mayor David Willson and Paul Hamill. Clement  in March.

Steinbrenner violated a rule saying candidates cannot accept more than $100 from any single contributor and did not turn in her paperwork on time. She was fined $4,000.

“It should send a shiver up the spine of voters,” said Schmid, who served as an alderman 20 years ago. “Someone did wrong, and they got caught; but the bigger story is a lot of somebodys did wrong and it sets a trend we can’t allow.”

The commission fined Diehl $1,000 for the violations, but Diehl will only have to pay $100 as long as he keeps his record clean for the next two years—a typical sanction in these cases.

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