Augustus Shaw, Candidate for State Legislature, Ran Afoul of Campaign Rules in Tempe


Augustus Shaw, a Republican running for State Legislature, failed to close out a political action committee he started when he ran for Tempe City Council in 2004, officials say.

Because of state campaign-finance laws, Shaw should have either terminated the PAC or filed finance reports each a year.

Because he's done neither since 2005, Tempe officials tell New Times, Shaw is on the hook for thousands of dollars in penalties.

The Tempe faux pas probably isn't a priority for Shaw this week: He's scheduled to go before a judge tomorrow to refute an allegation that he doesn't live in the Legislative district in which he's running. (Shaw's running in District 17 against incumbent Democrat Ed Ableser).

Yet Tempe officials say Shaw will have to deal with the fines sooner or later. The city sent him notices about PAC in the past, but couldn't reach him in the past few years after mail to his former address was returned. Once he receives a letter about the penalties by certified mail -- if Tempe finds his current address -- he'll have to pay up or face a civil sanction that could cost him even more.

It's unclear if he'll need to pay his bill before filing a report for the statewide race -- assuming he stays in the race.

Shaw registered the "Committee to Elect Augustus 'Gus' Shaw in October of 2003, paperwork shows. He lost the city council election in 2004, but kept the PAC alive for what looks like no good reason.

The weird thing is that Shaw apparently knew, at one point, that he'd be penalized for leaving the PAC open if he didn't file timely campaign finance reports. Officials say that Shaw filed a "no activity" statement with the city in 2005 but paid a $60 fine for failing to file it on time.

Since then, he should have filed a finance report for the PAC at least once a year -- and as many as four times a year in years that Tempe held primary and general elections. He faces a maximum $450 fine for each report he failed to file. Assuming four failed filings in 2006 and 2008, plus one each for 2007, 2009 and 2010, Shaw would owe nearly $5,000. 

City officials began eyeing Shaw's lack of PAC reports after seeing his campaign signs pop up around town. After getting a call from New Times, Tempe is now trying to come up with a total amount due for Shaw and send him a bill.

Shaw, who has been endorsed by Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, is scheduled to appear before Judge Edward Burke on Thursday at 3 p.m. in the Old Courthouse, 125 West Washington Street, to answer the complaint about his residency. An amended complaint was filed yesterday to include the allegation that he collected petition signatures before forming an official candidate committee.

You'd think an attorney for HOAs would follow the rules better.

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