Update: Write-In Candidate Addresses Financing Questions


**Patti Drago provided this correspondence with the Department of Elections concerning campaign financing:

Dear Mr. Albence,
I received your letter informing me that I am required to comply with the reporting requirements of Chapter 80 of Title 15. I agree and I believe that I am in compliance with these requirements.
In your letter, you do not specifically say that I must file the 30-day or 8-day reports.  I have reviewed Chapter 80 numerous times. Section 8030 [b] [2] and [b] [3] carve out an exception for 30-day and 8-day reporting requirements for “committees of candidates not on the ballot at such election”.  As you know, as a write-in candidate, my name will not be on the ballot. The plain reading of the code is that I am indeed not required to file these interim reports. 
I would respectfully ask that you address Section 8030 specifically and clearly advise the State’s position on whether the described exceptions apply to my campaign committee. If your position is that those stated exceptions do not apply to my campaign, and that I must file these reports, please direct me to the section of the code that supports that position.
If your position is that I must file these reports, I would also respectfully ask that you acknowledge

  • That my campaign was wrongly advised by your Campaign Finance division when we inquired about the exceptions in Section 8030 before the deadline, and
  • That we could not file a 30-day report because the campaign finance system provided us with no reporting option other than the December 2020 report, which is due January 20, 2021.

I have said previously that we would be happy to file the interim report. In fact, we have been entering campaign contributions and expenses into your system all along; the info is and has been in there and the Campaign Finance division has had complete access to the details. Ms. Greenhow informed me that she will now open up the system to allow us to now file the 30-day report, which we will gladly do whether or not required. 
Below is a screen shot of my campaign finance account page. You will note that the only report showing as due is the 2020 annual report which is due January 21. Also note that there are no other reports showing as due, nor are there any late reports or violations noted.
I look forward to your response at your earliest convenience.
Patricia DragoWrite-in Candidate for Sussex County Council District 3

A write-in candidate for Sussex County Council’s Third District scoffed Monday at a call for an investigation into her campaign finances.

The Republican State Committee stated Monday that Patti Drago had not filed any financial disclosure reports.

“Voters have a right to know who is writing checks to support a candidate. These financial disclosure laws assure that the voters will have that information when they go to vote”, Delaware Republican Party Chair Jane Brady said in a statement.  “We call on the Department of Elections to take enforcement action.”

Drago, in a statement, said she is in full compliance with campaign laws and has voluntarily disclosed all campaign contributions as of last Saturday, October 10th. She says she did so although election law does not require that committees of candidates who are not on the ballot meet 30-day or eight-day reporting requirements.

“My opponent and the Delaware GOP have released incorrect information about campaign finance public disclosure requirements. I and my campaign staff have communicated regularly with the Department of Elections Campaign Finance Division since the beginning of my campaign in September. I understand clearly what our reporting obligations are, and I am in full compliance,” Drago said in a statement. 

“Delaware Election Campaign law, Title 15, clearly outlines the reporting requirements for public disclosure. If my opponent and his backers had taken the time to review the law, they would know that “committees of candidates not on the ballot” are not required to file with the Campaign Finance Division at this time,” Drago continued

Drago said if anything, her campaign committee calls for the Department of Elections to investigate her GOP opponent Mark Schaeffer’s campaign finance reports.