Eaton Co. sheriff’s campaign committee settles 2016 election complaint

CHARLOTTE, Mich (WLNS) – A simmering campaign finance complaint has been settled in Eaton County.

The Committee to Re-elect Sheriff Tom Reich is agreeing to pay $3,500 to the State of Michigan’s Bureau of Elections to settle the dispute stemming from a contentious 2016 campaign.

As part of the settlement the Bureau will not pursue prosecution or any civil action against the committee.

Reich’s committee had disclosed on its public campaign finance reports that it had accepted donations of gift cards and merchandise from local businesses to use as prizes at its golf outing fundraisers.

Senator Rick Jones, a former Eaton County sheriff, filed a complaint saying those contributions were illegal.

Michigan law forbids businesses that are corporations from contributing money or anything of value to a candidate’s committee.

“Once we sorted through everything, we were able to show that many of the contributions included in Jones’ complaint were completely legal – but some were not,” Sheriff Reich explained. “We have fully refunded all of those which should not have been offered or accepted in the first place, and have issued a note of explanation to the donors so this situation will not happen again,” he continued.

Reich says he takes full responsibility for the matter and regrets any inconvenience.

Reich was opposed by Fred McPhail and in the November election Reich defeated McPhail by more than 4,800 votes.

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