THE QUESTION

I noticed in Delaware's Campaign Finance Guidelines that “All candidates who intend to run for an office with a salary greater then $1,000 must form a Committee and register with the Campaign Finance Section.” Yet the Beacon’s Feb. 17 story, “Local Elections Have a Price Tag,” states that “Mr. Rogers' records are not available in the state's online campaign finance database...” So it appears that Mayor Rogers did not comply with Delaware's Campaign Finance Guidelines.  Do you know why he did not do so?
—Peter Gosnell

THE ANSWER
According to Delaware Election Commissioner Elaine Manlove, candidates only have to file a full campaign-finance report if they’re running for an office that pays at least $1,000 a year, and they’re going to spend $2,000 or more running for it. But that law has changed more than once lately, and it’s easy to find materials online that refer to old versions of the rules — even on the state’s own website. There is a law that requires campaign-finance reports from anyone who would make over $1,000 a year no matter how much they spend, but it applies only to school board candidates, according to state election officials. Milford City Clerk Terri Hudson said the question comes up almost every election cycle.

WHAT THIS MEANS TO YOU
If you want to know how much local candidates are spending on their campaigns, you’re only likely to find records for those who’ve spent at least $2,000. The thriftier candidates are still allowed to file, but they don’t have to.

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