Senator needs to file report, clear name

Published 12:05 am Friday, October 24, 2014

Natchez’s State Sen. Melanie Sojourner still has not filed her 2013 campaign finance report, nor has she paid the $500 civil penalty levied against her for not doing so.

Now, the issue has been referred to the state Attorney General for investigation.

In July, Sojourner said she planned to get the report filed quickly, but that hasn’t happened.

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Sojourner’s excuse for not filing the required campaign financial disclosure statements is about as credible as the age-old excuse of “my dog ate my homework.”

Sojourner, R-Natchez, said earlier this year that she had not been able to file the report because a tornado damaged her house in September 2013 destroying documents necessary to complete the finance report, such as bank statements and other records.

While we sympathize with Sojourner over the tornado damage to her house, surely after more than a year, she has had time to replace required documentation.

Further, Sojourner claimed she is being targeted, presumably at the urging of state Republicans, for political reasons. She recently served as campaign manager for state Sen. Chris McDaniel, who challenged U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran in the recent GOP primary for his seat in the U.S. Senate.

Sojourner said earlier this year that other lawmakers have told her they haven’t filed such reports, or have filed incomplete ones.

The problem with Sojourner’s claim is that it’s not true. Mississippi Secretary of State’s Office Communications Director Pamela Weaver said Sojourner is the only state legislator who did not file the required form for 2013.

Even if others hadn’t file the required form, that’s no reason for Sojourner to not follow the state’s campaign finance laws.

Sojourner admitted to having received notices warning her of the consequences of not filing the report and being advised by the Secretary of State’s office to file a waiver explaining why filing the report wasn’t possible.

For a state lawmaker to use as an excuse for not following the law that others don’t follow it either is inexcusable.

How well do you think that excuse would work for the rest of us?

Sojourner needs to quickly file the report and clear her name — and the reputation of the constituency she is supposed to serve.