Sarasota News Leader

05/10/2013

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CITY ELECTION LAW VIOLATION Richard Dorfman. Photo by Norman Schimmel POLICE UNION GIVES COMMISSION CANDIDATE RICHARD DORFMAN A CAMPAIGN DONATION THAT IS TOO HIGH By Stan Zimmerman City Editor If any organization in a city knows local rules and regulations, it should be the police. So when Sarasota City Commission candidate Richard Dorfman filed his final campaign treasurer's report on Wednesday, May 8, one donation stood out. It was a $500 contribution from the local Police Benevolent Association. Voters six years ago approved a change to the city charter that put a $200 cap on campaign donations. Since then the "amount column" on many treasurers' reports is a string of $200 donations. But Dorfman's most recent report shows a $500 figure for the donation on April 30 by the "SW FL PBA Inc." That is the Southwest Florida Police Benevolent Association, which apparently broke city regulations by donating too much. Normally a campaign treasurer would flag the large donation and do the paperwork to return it. But Dorfman's treasurer is John Dowd, a Venice accountant who may not be familiar with Sarasota's city-specific election laws. A call to the Sarasota County Supervisor of Elections Office directed us to City Attorney Bob Fournier, who said it was the first time he had heard of the situation. The question put to voters in 2007 was "Amendment to limit campaign contributions to candidates for the City Commission to a

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