Las Vegas Sun

September 24, 2017

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Court: Candidates who withhold information can face civil penalties

CARSON CITY – A political candidate must fill out campaign contribution and expense reports or face civil penalties, the Nevada Supreme Court has ruled.

The court rejected the argument of Carolyn Bauer, a candidate for the state Senate in Washoe County, who argued the requirement violated her constitutional right against self incrimination. The court said this right exists only in criminal matters.

Bauer, an Independent American Party candidate, submitted her required three campaign expense reports to the secretary of state in the 2002 election, but she left the income and expense lines blank. And she didn't sign the report under the penalty of perjury despite acknowledging her duty to do so when she filed her candidacy.

The secretary of state’s office gave Bauer a chance to amend her complaint, but she refused, so a civil complaint was brought for campaign reporting violations. Former Carson City District Judge Bill Maddox decided against Bauer and ordered her to pay $37,525 in fines, attorney fees and costs.

The Supreme Court on Thursday upheld the Maddox decision saying Bauer didn't have the right to withhold this information and the Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination does not apply in this case.

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