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Former candidate faces financial statement filing charges

September 28, 2005|by DAVE McMILLION

charlestown@herald-mail.com

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - A Jefferson County Republican who was defeated in the May 2004 primary race for a House of Delegates seat has been indicted for three counts of failure to file a candidate's financial statement, according to court records.

Frederick E. Blackmer Jr. was indicted on charges of failing to file candidate financial statements in September, October and November of last year, according to Jefferson County Circuit Court records.

The indictment was handed up last week by a Jefferson County grand jury.

Each of the misdemeanor charges carries a penalty of a fine of not less than $500 or up to a year in jail, or both, said Ben Beakes, chief of staff in the state Secretary of State's office in Charleston, W.Va.

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Beakes declined to comment on the specifics of the case involving Blackmer, but said candidates running in an election are required to file six financial statements.

Three are filed for a primary election and three are filed for a general election, Beakes said.

The financial reports must be filed as long as a candidate has an active campaign spending account, Beakes said.

The reports show how much a candidate has raised for a campaign, the source of contributions, how much has been spent and how the money has been spent, Beakes said.

Officials in the Secretary of State's office make several attempts to remind candidates of the requirements, Beaks said.

Candidates are mailed a letter reminding them the financial reports must be filed, Beakes said.

If a candidate does not file the reports, another letter is sent reminding them to file the reports, Beakes said.

If the reports are still not filed, another letter is sent reminding them and saying the case could be referred to a prosecuting attorney, Beakes said.

Phone calls are also made to the candidate to remind them, Beakes said.

"In America, we have an open election process," Beakes said. "The candidates must do their part."

Blackmer said Tuesday he was indicted for not filing financial reports in an election in which he did not run. Blackmer was indicted for not filing financial reports in months following the May 11 primary election in which he was defeated by Republican Suzanne Morgan in the race for the 58th House of Delegates seat. He did not participate in the November general election.

Blackmer said he paid for his campaign except for $35 he received in donations.

"I really don't have an opinion on the thing until I find out what's going on," Blackmer said.

Jefferson County Prosecuting Attorney Michael D. Thompson declined to comment.

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