Fortenbery must identify donors

Published 12:01 am Wednesday, June 18, 2008

NATCHEZ — Ward 5 alderman-elect Mark Fortenbery improperly filled out his campaign finance reports during the election and must now correct the problem.

Fortenbery listed multiple anonymous donations to his campaign.

Mississippi state statute requires that any contribution over $200 made to a political candidate be fully reported.

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Out of the 15 contributions Fortenbery received from Jan. 1 through May 31, 13 were listed as anonymous.

Of those 13 contributions, 10 were $200 or more.

Fortenbery said he did not realize he needed to list the names of the donors and wanted to maintain a level of privacy for his donors’ sake.

“I didn’t think it was the public’s interest,” he said. “I thought that was my business.”

He said he considered monetary donations to his campaign a private matter.

City Clerk Donnie Holloway sat down with Fortenbery on Tuesday and requested he fill out the report again.

As of Tuesday afternoon, Fortenbery said he was almost finished with the task.

“I’m straightening it out and turning it back in,” he said.

Holloway said he can turn in the report in the form of the termination report, which all candidates are required to turn in.

Holloway said no punitive action will be taken against Fortenbery, as this is only a minor discrepancy.

“This is just small scale stuff,” Holloway said. “You’ve got to take it serious and all but this is Mark’s first time doing this.”

Fortenbery said overall he just didn’t understand the procedure.

“I was really unaware of that,” he said. “I’ll make it right with the law, and honestly I didn’t know.”