Editor’s update: As of 5/25/21, the FEC still reports receiving none of Patterson’s overdue filings covering a year of fundraising in the 2019-2020 election cycle.
Before becoming a Republican candidate for Congress, former U.S. Airforce pilot Buzz Patterson strongly criticized the Clinton and Obama presidencies in two books called “Dereliction of Duty” and “Conduct Unbecoming.” But a new chapter in the first-time candidate’s own political history can be fairly titled “Failure to Report.”
As exclusively reported here on Oct. 13, the Patterson for Congress campaign had promised to submit a year’s worth of delinquent campaign finance disclosures to the Federal Election Commission by the last deadline of Oct. 15. Campaign Treasurer Lou Baglietto even revealed that the year’s worth of unfiled reports would show the campaign had raised $300,000 in previously undisclosed campaign donations.
But in the three weeks since then, the FEC reports not receiving any of the old or newly required campaign fundraising and spending reports. The delays guaranteed the voting public had no opportunity to review the vast majority of Patterson’s fundraising and spending before voting in the Nov. 3 general election.
“It is very unusual for a viable candidate to do this,” said attorney and campaign law expert Kenneth Gross. “Sometimes candidates are late [in filing]. Sometimes they have good reason. Sometimes not so good, but it is rare for a candidate to just not report.”
Gross worked for the FEC for 10 years, including as an associate general counsel in charge of enforcement from 1979 to 1986. He said campaign filings are key to making campaigns transparent. Without the reports, the public has no way to know who is financially supporting a particular candidate or whether campaign funds are being properly spent.
In the last two weeks, the FEC sent the Patterson campaign their fifth and sixth “failure to file” notices. The FEC said the previous four notices were never responded to and the campaign risks significant fines. Patterson’s campaign was also included in two FEC news releases last week about delinquent candidates.
Buzz Patterson would not provide comment to this publication, but after The Sacto Politico’s initial report ran, Patterson told the Sacramento News & Review on Oct. 20 the materials had been sent in and would be “visible in a day or two.”
Attempts to reach Baglietto for comment were not returned.
* SactoPolitico.com founder and editor Jeff Burdick ran in the March 3rd Congressional primary as a first-time candidate against Bera, Patterson and two other candidates. Burdick is a trained journalist, and six months after the primary election, he returned to this vocation by starting The Sacto Politico.
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