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State clears former Pinellas Park council candidate of election miscues

PINELLAS PARK — The state has cleared a former City Council candidate, saying he did not violate Florida election laws.

Maurice Wappler, a St. Petersburg resident whose hobby is close — really close — scrutiny of campaign material accused Ed Kosinski's campaign literature of violating state election laws. One charge was that Kosinski's yard signs did not have the word "for" between his name and the office he was seeking. The other complaint was that Kosinski's signs had the wording "pol. adv. PD for" rather than writing out "political advertising paid" as required by law.

Kosinski said at the time that he thought his signs were okay according to instructions candidates were given when they signed up to run for office. He vowed to fight the accusations.

The Florida Elections Commission said Kosinski, a first-time candidate, had broken no rules and dismissed the complaint against him.

Kosinski did not return phone messages asking for comment.

Wappler, who refuses to be photographed, said he began scrutinizing campaign literature, financial declaration forms and other election paraphernalia because he dislikes all politicians and thinks they will be equally careless in office if they can't get basic election requirements right.

Wappler has pursued candidates from all parties over the years, but turned his attention to Pinellas Park during last spring's elections.

And, although Kosinski and other Pinellas Park candidates had harsh words for him, Wappler stood by his decision to look at Pinellas Park races even though he does not live there. Over the years, he has complained about candidates as diverse as Republican Gov. Charlie Crist and Democratic state Sen. Charlie Justice of St. Petersburg.

And even though Wappler may have struck out with Kosinksi, the elections commission is still looking at complaints he filed against Justice and Democrat Liz McCallum, an unsuccessful candidate for state House. Neither Justice nor McCallum could be reached Tuesday.

State clears former Pinellas Park council candidate of election miscues 09/09/08 [Last modified: Wednesday, September 10, 2008 3:00pm]
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