Crossing the Law: In a Judicial Race?

August 16, 2006 25 comments Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article

When electing public officials to office, what do we, the voting public, have a right to expect from the candidates campaigning for those offices? First and foremost we expect honesty. Additionally, we expect the candidates to speak the truth and to play by the rules set forth in election law. Are we ever let down? Sure we are. But we shouldn't let these disappointments lower our expectations that these candidates will follow the law.

And those expectations should be even more magnified when it is a lawyer who is running for a judicial seat, for it is lawyers that are supposed to have a much greater knowledge of the law than the average individual.  

In the Judicial Circuit 4, Group 35 Jacksonville race, we have discovered that one of the candidates has broken election campaign law.  Thereasa Hunnewell McCaulie (Terri McCaulie) from Neptune Beach is running against Dan Wilenski.  It seems that Ms. McCaulie has broken campaign contribution law by having her kick-off party funded by some outside source, rather than from her campaign account.  How do we know this?  We have seen documentation that verifies that well over $3,000 was spent on McCaulie's kick-off party in early July and at the time of purchase, according to a campaign contribution report, McCaulie only had $1,500.00 in her official account.  Where did this extra money come from?  Was it from Ms. McCaulie's personal account?  We doubt it.  If that was the case, why not just transfer the money first to her campaign account and THEN pay for the party expenses?  Following the paper trail, one could be forgiven for believing that some outside, silent source could be bankrolling Ms. McCaulie's trip to the bench.  What could be this person's motivation? 

Just this week the Jacksonville Fraternal Order of Police endorsed McCaulie.  We wonder if there was any real investigation into matters such as this or if it was just a case of McCaulie being a little better networked with the boys in blue?  We don't know that much about Wilenski right now, but we haven't been able to find an instance of him utilizing illegal contribution money to get himself elected.

Our campaign contributions laws are in place for a reason.  To produce a money trail and to prevent questionable behavior such as this.  Again, it is all the more disturbing when it is a student of the law who is crossing the very laws that candidate purports he or she is running to uphold.