Friday, January 12, 2007

Rep. Kujawski Guilty of Campaign Finance Violations

The Attorney General's office announced today that State Representative Paul Kujawski (D-Webster) has admitted to campaign finance violations. Not only did Kujawski use campaigns funds for personal use and accept more than the legal contribution amount from PACs between 2001 and 2003, but he was found in violation of a previous agreement with the Office of Campaign and Political Finance from earlier campaign finance charges. All in all, the violation will cost Rep. Kujawski nearly $17,000. Kujawski has admitted to using campaign funds for his personal automobile use as well as his clothing and cleaning expenses. The Globe has this quote from the legislator:

Kujawski said he was pleased the issue was resolved.

"I'm very happy that I can move on from this chapter in my life and get that out of the way," he said.
Leaving alone for now why we should trust that this "chapter" is over, given that part of his crime was violating an agreement stemming from a previous violation, what I'd like to know is why penalties for campaign finance violations seem so toothless? The bulk of the money that Kujawski has to pay -- more than $14,000 -- will go back into his campaign account. He's paying the fine back to himself! It's no wonder that so many legislators -- Senator Wilkerson is another example -- treat our campaign finance laws like a joke.

Those who follow Rep. Kujawski might also remember that he was arrested for drunk driving and public urination in 2004.