Update 10:20 a.m.: Dolly Gibson from the Supervisor of Elections office called to tell us the information has now appeared online. Enjoy!
Nearly every candidate* who was elected to a Broward County government office in the November 2008 election has an itemized list of campaign contributors available online -- with one notable exception: current Broward Sheriff Al Lamberti.
Campaign finance information is available online through the website of the Broward County supervisor of elections, Brenda Snipes. Candidates' treasurers submit information about the candidate as well as itemized lists of contributions and expenditures in the campaign account. You can find this information for Clerk of Courts Howard Foreman, embattled School Board member Beverly Gallagher, even imprisoned Commissioner Josephus Eggelletion. So where's Al?
Snipes' staff has been very helpful since New Times requested the sheriff's campaign finance information earlier this week. They even asking the IT department, to no avail, why the information wasn't online where it's supposed to be. The office just completed a physical move within the building, so apparently all the paper records are inaccessible at the moment. Good!
We're expecting a call back from Mary Cooney, the office's public services director. We also sent a personal email to Lamberti -- BSO media relations can't handle campaign issues -- and are waiting to hear back.
Could this be a technical snafu? Yes, absolutely. Could it be exempt from publication under some loophole? Less likely, but we're looking into it. But what's for sure is that Lamberti's contribution records could bring back some unpleasant memories.
Like, say, Scott Rothstein, a prolific Lamberti campaign contributor in 2008. According to the Sun-Sentinel, Lamberti sent Rothstein a letter after his election victory "congratulating him on an award, thanking him for his friendship and offering personal or professional assistance." Lamberti told the paper that Rothstein was "a campaign contributor and nothing more."
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The reason we're asking for the finance records? Well, for one, we're going to be giving you more reports on sheriff's elections past and future as the current field of contenders begins campaigning in earnest. Also, commenters on our recent story about the BSO's quick action to charge a TSA agent with "grand theft" of Rick Case's pen want to know if Case himself is a financial backer of Lamberti.
*This excludes judges, who don't do much campaigning anyway, and a few water and drainage board officials. There are other strange omissions in what's available online as well. But Lamberti is the only high-level official we found for whom an itemized list is not available.