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Council member appealing fine

Shawn Harrison says his campaign finance report was late because his treasurer failed to file it.

Tampa City Council member Shawn Harrison is appealing a $1,700 fine he received for filing his last campaign finance report eight days after the June 1 deadline.

Harrison said his campaign treasurer failed to file the report on time because she thought she had 10 days from the time the account was closed to finish the paperwork.

Harrison is basing his appeal on the fact that neither he nor his campaign treasurer were notified in writing that the report was due until eight days after the deadline.

"The first word I got there was a fine and that the report was late was from (Hillsborough County Supervisor of Elections) Pam Iorio," Harrison said. "And literally, within two hours of that phone call, we had the report filed. Nobody knew it was late."

The fine for being late was only $50 a day for the first three days. Thereafter it rose to $500 a day, but the fine is capped at 25 percent of the total contributions or expenditures on the report.

Harrison's final report included about $7,000 in expenses but no contributions. That figure was used to determine the fine, which Harrison is responsible for.

"The state statute says the supervisor has to provide written notice immediately after the deadline passes," Harrison said. "If I had gotten written notice, I would have gone down there and paid it. But I didn't even know it was late."

Harrison said that when he closed the books on his campaign, which raised more than $29,000, he had about $1,000 left over, which he donated to Joshua House, a home for abused and neglected children.

If you have a story about New Tampa, call Logan Mabe at 226-3464.