Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Arithmetic Errors pursue McKie

Amelia McKie has trouble filing required reports with the Ethics Commission on time and filing them correctly.

As mentioned in the previous article, she said in a public meeting of the Richland 2 School Board (in January 2019, I believe) that it wouldn't happen again. I understood her to be telling the public that she'd be filing future required reports on time.

Campaign Disclosure Reports due to the South Carolina Ethics Commission are to be filed quarterly. However, McKie's reports for 4/10/2019, 7/10/2019, and 1/10/2020 were filed late.

Her Report due 10/10/2019 was filed on time, and she amended it on 3/4/2020.

On the Amended Report she reports $250.00 in "individual funds" contributed to her campaign. Now, what would cause her to "remember" that contribution five months later? And why didn't she report it correctly and on time?

The next obvious problem (obvious to anyone with a rudimentary skills in arithmetic) is why does she have less money on-hand than was reported in October 2019?  If she received a contribution of $250.00 and didn't incur additional expense (which she didn't), wouldn't she have more money on-hand?

But that's not what her filed Reports show. Her amended report corrected an unexplained error in the original report, but it did not correct the errors that occurred earlier in 2019. Those errors still exist.

This leads me to decide that the Ethics Commission doesn't examine the reports when they are filed. It looks like the Ethics Commission just accepts them as filed.

Then it's up to someone, somewhere, to inspect the reports and alert the Commission to the errors.

The magic of computers ought to make it easy to confirm sums and differences; you know, basic arithmetic calculations. Flags ought to pop when numbers don't agree. But they don't.

Financial Integrity - how important?

How important should the personal financial integrity of School Board Trustees be?

Should it be squeaky clean? Above reproach? Should all Trustees be keeping very high standards of personal financial integrity?

And what happens when they don't?

Well, if you're a Richland 2 School District trustee, apparently nothing happens.

For insight to this question, refer to the South Carolina State Tax Lien Registry at dor.sc.gov/liens  Search the Lien Registry for "Individual".
Enter the name of your favorite trustee and inspect the results.

A second place to look is the list of Debtors on the website of the South Carolina Ethics Commission at ethics.sc.gov  Near the top right of the homepage click on "Debtors". After you read about the (unsuccessful) efforts of the Ethics Commission to squeeze payments out of the debtors, scroll to the bottom of the page and click on "Debtors List (PDF)"

The Ethics Commission apparently has trouble alphabetizing names, because it has put McK before Mah. Look for Amelia McKie. Her $51.750 debt shows a Default Year of 2016. That was halfway through her first term as a trustee. You would have to read the Commission's Decision & Order dated July 3, 2018 to get the whole picture.

When McKie had not made any payment toward her debt, in July 2019 the Ethics Commission filed a judgment with the Richland County Common Pleas Court (Case No. 2019CP4003809). You can inspect the court entry here.

The South Carolina Department of Revenue is the collection agent for the Ethics Commission. Apparently, it's pretty busy, because no entries appear in the court record after July 2019.

Is it any wonder that the List of Debtors on the Ethics Commission website, dated 1/13/2020, is 28 pages long and that the uncollected amount of debt is $2,762,979?

McKie's debt isn't the largest or the oldest. I think it was in January 2019, after her ethics' woes were reported publicly, that she said it wouldn't happen again. She meant "filing late" wouldn't happen again. Yet it did! She filed Campaign Disclosure Reports late not once, not twice, but three times! The Reports due 4/10/2019, 7/10/2019, and 1/10/2020 were filed late.

She did file her 10/10/2019 report on time (10/10/2019), but she amended it on 3/4/2020. See the next article about her amended Campaign Disclosure Report, filed 3/4/2020, for her Report filed on 10/10/2019.

Maybe someone should ask Gov. McMaster why the DOR isn't doing a better job collecting these debts?