When you're running as the law and order candidate, or really any candidate for that matter, you should probably follow campaign laws. And when you're making a run for Congress, you should also know which district you're in. It appears that Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu failed on both fronts, according to federal campaign finance reports. A review of the documents shows Babeu officially filed to run on Dec. 31, more than two months after he was required to do so by law. Five days later, the sheriff amended that report because he filed to run in the wrong district. Babeu is now running for an open seat in Arizona's 1st Congressional District, which covers the eastern half of Arizona. He originally filed in the 4th Congressional District, which takes in most of western Arizona. Penalties for campaign finance violations are varied and rarely handed out, said local elections attorney Kory Langhofer. But, he said there is an important reason they exist. "Campaign finance laws are intended to give voters as much information about an candidate as possible, as soon as possible, and missing registration deadlines and year-end reports prevent voters from getting that information as intended," Langhofer said.Under federal campaign laws, candidates must file a statement of candidacy within 15 days after spending or raising over $5,000 or officially announcing that they are running. Babeu checked all three boxes before submitting his statement of candidacy. According to online records with the Federal Election Commission, the sheriff raised about $308,000 and spent about $58,000 during the final quarter of last year.The sheriff also announced he was a candidate in email on Oct. 5 with a subject line saying, "Big News... I'm in!" "The system isn't working, and it takes new blood to shake it up. That’s why I'm writing today to announce my run for the first Congressional District of Arizona," Babeu wrote in the announcement. Officials for Babeu's campaign chalked it up to a paperwork error. Babeu filed a statement of organization in January which is not the same as the statement of candidacy he was required to submit.
Barrett Marson, a spokesman for Babeu, says public record made it very clear that the sheriff was a candidate.
He agreed the paperwork was late but added, "No harm, no foul."
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