Putting 2 and 2 together

I noticed last weekend the supposedly brand new “independent” political committee promoting the incumbent Westonka school board candidates had not filed a campaign finance report, despite seeing lots of signs around town. So, I sent an email to the address listed on their signs asking why. I got a response on Sunday that they had filed their report with the school district. Miraculously Sunday afternoon their report was uploaded to the school district’s campaign finance page. Guess that was an oversight. I can overlook oversights.

What I first noticed, upon opening the We Are Westonka campaign finance report filed Sunday, October 17, was that the political committee’s expenditures far exceeded their reported contributions on this first (ever) report. In fact they only reported $100 in contributions while spending over $1,100 on signs and buttons. Hmm. A brand new committee isn’t going to have funds to carry over…unless they’re not brand new….I’m confused.

A campaign finance report is supposed to account for all contributions and all expenditures but this one clearly did not.

I noticed reports filed by Yes Westonka, the former political organization that pushed the school’s past bond referendums, and this is what I found:

  1. The Yes Westonka Annual Report 19-20 showed a $1,200 contribution from the Teacher’s Union and showed cash on hand of $1,498.20. To-date no subsequent reports show expenditures of those funds.
  2. The Yes Westonka Annual Report 20-21 shows $0 contributions, $0 expenditures but, interestingly, the “cash on hand” field was deleted entirely from the report. Was there a reason they didn’t want to show the $1,498.20 sitting in the account prior to the school board 2021 election? Did they think they could just delete a mandated field from a required report and no one would notice? What happened to the $1,498.20??
  3. The signature at the bottom of both Yes Westonka reports is Lori Wollner, school board incumbent Gary Wollner’s spouse. Well, that explains why they couldn’t use Yes Westonka as an independent political committee now, doesn’t it.

This is the kind of thing one could file and win a campaign finance violation over, but why? The complainant would likely incur thousands in attorneys fees and the political committee would get a slap on the wrist without any meaningful consequences.

Better to just let the community know and ask the school district why they are overlooking these violations.

VOTE FOR NEW SCHOOL BOARD MEMBERS ON NOVEMBER 2!

Vote NOW for Westonka school board!

This school board election is one of the most important votes you will ever cast and will determine the curriculum and values taught to our students for years to come.

There is literally NO EXCUSE not to vote. You can vote any weekday between now and the official “election day” of November 2 by going to the school district offices (doesn’t matter what precinct you’re in) at 5902 Sunnyfield Rd. E, Minnetrista. Bring an ID with you because technically this is absentee voting, but it’s “no excuse absentee voting”. Between Oct. 26 and election day the process is a bit more simple and voters can feed their ballot directly into the voting machine intead of putting it in a sealed envelope to be processed by the absentee ballot board.

Challengers to the school board incumbents are:

Rachael Myers: https://www.facebook.com/RachaelMyersforWestonka email: rachm82@hotmail.com
Dr. Gregory Snyder: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100073424764260 email: greg@snyderemail.com
Kathleen Olesinski: https://www.facebook.com/Kathleen-Olesinski-for-Westonka-School-Board-108677431555264
Katie Holt: https://www.facebook.com/holt4westonka/

The above challengers are focused on education, not politics, and making sure our students get the skills they need to become productive adults in our communities. In my opinion any of them would be preferrable to the incumbents below. GET OUT AND VOTE!

Current school board incumbent candidates (running again) are:

Brian Carlson: Unable to locate candidate FB page or website at time of publishing
Loren Davis: Unable to locate candidate FB page or website at time of publishing
Gary Wollner: Unable to locate candidate FB page or website at time of publishing