Possible violation in hands of DA

LEWISTOWN – The Mifflin County Board of Elections has forwarded a possible Campaign Finance Law violation to the district attorney’s office.

The board, comprised of Mifflin County Commissioners Mark Sunderland, Otis Riden and Kevin Kodish, voted unanimously on Thursday morning to request District Attorney Dave Molek review a possible campaign advertisement sent with tax bills to Derry Township residents by Tax Collector Bret Treaster. Molek was unavailable for comment on Thursday.

The note stated, “Derry Township Tax Office will be closed May 21st due to the election. I hope that I can count on your vote !!!! :)”

The board determined the statement could appear to be a campaign advertisement in violation of the Campaign Finance Law’s sub-section on disclaimers, which are required on campaign flyers, literature and other items. Treaster has said the note was placed in the envelopes with the tax bills by his wife without his knowledge.

The board found there were no other possible violations, since Treaster did not request reimbursement from the county or the township for postage costs. However if the note is found to be a campaign advertisement, Treaster would be required to report the cost on a Campaign Finance Report.

The Derry Township Tax Collector’s salary is paid by Mifflin County, Derry Township and the Mifflin County School District. The Sentinel filed a formal Right to Know request form with each of the three entities on Thursday, seeking the respective salary amounts paid. The county responded promptly, reporting it pays $6,169.68 of the tax collector’s overall salary. The township and the school district had not responded as of press time Thursday.

Treaster faces Republican challenger Debra L. Warntz in the primary election. Three Democratic candidates – Douglas Berich, Pamela S. Eberman and Jim Treaster – are also seeking the position.