City councilor: 'I was in violation of campaign finance laws' - FOX Carolina 21

City councilor: 'I was in violation of campaign finance laws'

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SPRINGFIELD, MA (WSHM) -

After a five-month investigation, a Springfield city councilor has admitted he violated the state's campaign finance laws during his re-election bid in November 2012 and will be forced to pay a fine.

The audit by the state's Office of Campaign and Political Finance found that Councilor Timothy Rooke violated record-keeping regulations, and that he used campaign money for personal use on five occasions.

Rooke has been ordered to pay a $5,000 civil forfeiture, which he says he will pay back personally.

Items flagged by the OCPF are as follows:

1. Professional landscaping expense at Rooke's home for $1,500. Rooke says it was related to an annual fundraiser. Rooke refunded to the committee after OCPF raised concerns.

2. Three-day hotel expense that should have been entered as a loan from the campaign. Total amount was $933. Rooke asserts that he paid back the money to the committee and that his finance report reflects that fact.

3. A $500 invoice for campaign services for three election cycles to put up and take down over 200 lawn signs each election year, update computer database of sign locations, addresses and contact information. Rooke says an invoice for services was provided.

4. A $300 donation for a bachelor party.

5. An excess reimbursement to a volunteer for $48.43. Noted as an in-kind contribution.

Rooke says that some issues were the result of serious medical conditions experienced by his campaign manager prior to his death.

"Many receipts and reports were misplaced or lost due to his mental and physical condition. Notwithstanding this fact, I accept full responsibility as stated above," said Rooke.

If Rooke does not remain compliant with financing regulations through 2015, he would face an additional $2,500 civil forfeiture.

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