• Gary Woronchak

Here's how to view reports for most expensive Dearborn mayor primary ever

The first round of campaign finance reports in the Dearborn mayor race were due Friday. The reports provide important transparency into how much money a candidate's committee has received, who is contributing to a candidate and how the money is spent on the campaign. And, they are accessible to the public online, something that I helped to make happen. When I was Dearborn’s state representative, I introduced and passed legislation that requires state-level candidates to file these reports electronically and make them available online. As Chairman of the Wayne County Commission, I had a hand in Wayne County doing the same thing for candidates for local office. So, obviously, I think that transparency in campaign finance is important, and can be helpful information for voters. A quick way to check a candidate’s finances is to look at the report's summary page. It shows how much the candidate has raised and spent as of July 18, which was the final day of the pre-primary election reporting period.

“Raised” isn’t the most accurate way to put it, because that implies donations. “Amount received” is more accurate. A candidate can loan money to their campaign and can transfer in funds from their campaign account for another office. The summary page breaks it down, including “other” receipts (transfers from other accounts) and “debt and obligations” (personal funds a candidate loans to the campaign).

WHERE CANDIDATE FINANCES STAND SO FAR Here is a summary of candidate finances in the Dearborn mayor race. If you want more detail – to see individual donors and precise expenses – you can follow the steps I’ll outline later to see the full reports for yourself. (Granted, you really need to be curious or have an interest in such things to open the actual reports.) These numbers are rounded, and, again, reflect activity through July 18.

Hussein Berry’s report shows that his campaign brought in $138,000 and spent $115,000. As part of the funds taken in, $90,000 was loaned to the campaign by the candidate. Susan Dabaja’s report shows her campaign brought in $163,000 and spent $75,000.

Abdullah Hammoud’s report shows his campaign brought in $267,000 and spent $154,000. Part of what his campaign received was $45,000 transferred from another of his campaign accounts.

Jim Parrelly’s report shows his campaign brought in $36,000 and spent $19,000. The candidate himself put in $30,800 of the total receipts. It can be reasonably assumed it was a loan to the committee, but it is not designated as such on the report, nor listed under “debts and obligations” on the summary page.

Tom Tafelski’s report shows his campaign took in $36,600 and spent $17,900 during the reporting period. He had a $7,402.93 balance coming into 2021 from his previous campaign. He loaned his campaign committee $5,000 at some point during his previous campaign for mayor.

Kalette Shari Willis does not have to file a report because she requested a filing waiver. To qualify for a filing waiver, a candidate declares that they do not intend to raise or spend more than $1000 in an election. Gary Woronchak’s report shows $35,500 in receipts and $33,000 in expenses. The receipts included $6,200 in funds transferred to this campaign committee from my previous committees. HOW TO FIND THE FULL REPORTS ONLINE I am going to walk you through the process of finding the reports. It’s not difficult, but there are several steps to follow.

You will need to know the names and ID numbers of the candidates’ committees. Although, sometimes just typing in their last name and waiting for a moment is enough to create a drop-down menu to show you the committees. (You can try looking up City Council candidate reports with the drop-down menu method; I have not yet dug out all their committee ID numbers.)

Here are the names and ID numbers of committees for Dearborn mayoral candidates.

Committee to Elect Hussein Berry 82-157563

Committee to Elect Susan A. Dabaja 82-157554

Abdullah Hammoud for Mayor 82-157567

Jim Parrelly for Dearborn 82-157601

Friends for Thomas P. Tafelski 82-156692

Kalette Shari Willis for Dearborn 82-157717

Gary Woronchak for Mayor 82-157580

And here’s how you access the reports, step by step:

1) Go to www.wccampaignfinance.com

2) On the menu on the left, click “View Filed Reports.”

3) Click “continue” on the next page.

4) On the next page, in the field for “Committee Name,” type the name of the committee whose report you want to view, and then click “search.” (You may see the name of the committee in a drop-down menu as you’re typing it in, and you can just click on that name to complete the field, and again, you have to click “search.”)

5) Next page, under “filed report name,” click “campaign statement.” This will direct you to open a PDF document of the report filed by that committee. And there you have it, you can scroll through and find all kinds of information. Campaign finance reports are due before and after each election. The current reports are the pre-primary reports. A few weeks after the primary election, the post-primary reports will be due. And the same pattern continues in the general election, with both pre-general and post-general reports required.


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