The Stafford County Electoral Board asked the commonwealth's attorney Thursday to investigate allegations that Board of Supervisors Chairman Kenneth T. Mitchell failed to report all contributions to his campaign for commissioner of the revenue and that he illegally reimbursed himself for out-of-pocket expenses in the race.
The Electoral Board charged that Mitchell (R-Aquia) failed to list a contribution of more than $100 involving raffle tickets for two Beanie Babies. The board also alleged that he paid $1,036 in campaign expenses out of his own pocket without reporting the funds as a loan to his campaign.
In the May 22 Beanie Baby raffle held to benefit Mitchell's campaign, participants hoping to win a Millennium or Britannia Beanie Baby contributed $50 and $100, respectively.
By coincidence, a single individual, Melissa Boswell, won both drawings and therefore contributed $150 to Mitchell's campaign, but Mitchell did not list Boswell as a donor on his financial report, records show.
"He says she bought one ticket and her husband bought the other," Electoral Board Chairman Mildred Vittoria said. "If that is true, it's not a violation."
But that's a question for Commonwealth's Attorney Daniel Chichester, not the Electoral Board, Vittoria said. Chichester did not return calls seeking comment.
In the second allegation, Mitchell "paid bills and bought supplies out of his own funds," Vittoria said. "He reimbursed himself, but it's a technical violation of the law."
According to financial disclosure forms, Mitchell paid six bills totaling $736 between April 21 and May 13. He also paid a $300 campaign bill with a personal check on May 25. State law requires that all funds must be paid out of the campaign treasury. Loaning money to oneself is permitted, but it must be reported as such, Vittoria said.
Mitchell did not return calls seeking comment. Vittoria said Mitchell told her that he considered the money a loan to himself.
The allegations are a blow to Mitchell on the eve of a hard-fought Republican primary. Mitchell already faces the challenge of beating Scott Mayausky, a Revenue Office employee who has received the endorsement of retiring commissioner George L. Gordon Jr. And Mitchell has been dogged throughout his campaign because he declared bankruptcy four years ago after his fledgling carpet business failed.
The winner of Tuesday's primary will face John Harris and Robert Franklin, who are both running as independents, in the general election.