Another Sweeney Contradiction

1 Feb

The North Jefferson County Ambulance District is among the local entities that allow attorney Bob Sweeney to suckle at its teat (others being the city of Arnold, JeffCo 911, the city of Byrnes Mill, and others I may not know of). The NJCAD, incidentally, kicked a guy named Ron Woehrle off its April election ballot (Arnold did something similar). Sweeney, according to the Leader, “believes that candidates for elected positions with special districts, like ambulance and fire districts, also must be current on their taxes by the time filings close.” In this, he is in disagreement with attorney Frank Vatterott of the High Ridge Fire District. Vatterott is not the only attorney who disagrees with Sweeney. Another example is – Bob Sweeney, circa 2011. The memo he acquired and forwarded around at that time to keep his buddies on the Arnold ballot – a memo that seems to have merit – cites RSMo 115.305 (emphasis mine):

This subchapter shall not apply to candidates for special district offices, township offices in township organization counties, or city, town and village offices…

The memo uses this line to argue that 115.342, the statute that requires candidates to have paid their personal property (and other) taxes, does not apply to municipal elections. It stands to reason then, that Sweeney believed at the time that this statute also did not apply to special districts, such as the NJCAD. Does he have something against Woehrle, or is he just doing this to cover his tracks in Arnold?

Whether or not this statute applies to cities or special districts is only part of the issue. The other issue is at the end of 115.342, which states that (emphases mine):

the department of revenue shall investigate such potential candidate to verify the claim contained in the complaint. If the department of revenue finds a positive affirmation to be false, the department shall contact the secretary of state, or the election official who accepted such candidate’s declaration of candidacy, and the potential candidate. The department shall notify the candidate of the outstanding tax owed and give the candidate thirty days to remit any such outstanding taxes owed which are not the subject of dispute between the department and the candidate. If the candidate fails to remit such amounts in full within thirty days, the candidate shall be disqualified from participating in the current election and barred from refiling for an entire election cycle even if the individual pays all of the outstanding taxes that were the subject of the complaint.

None of the candidates involved in this spate of ballot ejections has been afforded this 30-day grace period, and the Department of Revenue does not seem to have been at all involved in this process. If Sweeney and Arnold City Clerk Diane Waller want people removed from the ballot, and think that 115.342 applies here, they need to submit this form, instead of acting unilaterally and unlawfully, as they appear to be here. Note that the DOR site seems pretty clear that the entities mentioned in 115.305 are exempt from 115.342, in which case, the personal property tax rule does not apply here, which is what Sweeney said – the first time around.

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One Response to “Another Sweeney Contradiction”

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  1. Sweeney Offers a Weak Justification « Jefferson County Penknife - February 4, 2013

    […] County Ambulance District get from the personal property tax, since Sweeney had a candidate removed from the ballot there, […]

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