Pompano Beach commissioner engaged in 'criminal' misuse of leftover campaign funds, says watchdog report
Pompano Beach Commissioner Beverly Perkins misused leftover campaign funds after her successful 2020 campaign, an investigation by the Broward County Office of the Inspector General (OIG) says.
She now faces possible criminal punishment from the Broward State Attorney and the Florida Division of Elections.
Perkins and her treasurer Robert Holmes "engaged in numerous, various acts of campaign finance misconduct that were criminal in nature," according to the independent watchdog.
According to the investigation, the pair made 22 post-election expenditures totaling $7,381.92. Those purchases were "neither obligated prior to the election for the purpose of influencing the outcome of the election nor otherwise legally authorized expenditures or dispositions of surplus campaign funds," according to the report.
But Perkins' lawyer, Larry Davis, told WLRN that "while the report indicates a number of book keeping errors, Commissioner Perkins has not benefited financially in any way."
"The OIG determined that Commissioner Perkins and her treasurer engaged in numerous, various acts of campaign finance misconduct that were criminal in nature, including willfully certifying as true campaign treasurer’s reports (CTRs) known to be incorrect, incomplete, or both," a statement from the Broward County OIG reads.
Other misconduct included failing to report contributions and spending, as well as misreporting contributor names and not reporting more than $3,000 given to New Creation Baptist Church of Christ. That payment came in after final campaign reports were filed and past the deadline to dispose of surplus campaign funds, according to the report.
The investigation also alleges Perkins and her treasurer failed to report almost $4,000 in campaign checks paid directly to her, purportedly to reimburse her for campaign expenses.
They also engaged in other violations of Florida campaign finance law, including "cashing a $9,500.00 check and using that cash to make cash payments rather than making expenditures through the campaign treasurer by bank check," the report states.
"Although any spending of such a cash advance was not permitted by campaign finance law, we also observed that the campaign did not provide supporting documentation for $5,125.00 of post-withdrawal “expenditures,”" the press release states.
The Office of the Attorney General is referring the investigation to the Broward State Attorney and the Florida Division of Elections, they say, for whatever action those agencies deem appropriate.
Editor's Note: This story was updated to clarify that Commissioner Perkins is not the current vice mayor. We regret any misunderstanding.