Thursday, December 22, 2005

Fed Audit Questions $3.8 Million of California HAVA Funds Spent by Shelley

As Greg Lucas reports in the San Francisco Chronicle, federal auditors have reported finding some $3.8 million in California's HAVA funds that were misspent or not properly accounted for under former California Secretary of State Kevin Shelley.

Congress passed the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) in 2002 to assist states in increasing voter turnout, voting access, and the accuracy of vote tabulation. Each state's top elections official was responsible for disbursing the funds received under the program.

As California's Secretary of State, Kevin Shelley was responsible for making sure that funds were spent to further the purposes of HAVA. However, under Shelley's eye, some of the money was spent on activities that promoted his party (Democrat) and that furthered Shelley's own political ambitions.

Shelley resigned earlier this year after a series of scandals which included the misspending of HAVA funds, in addition to illegal fundraising in his public office, illegally laundered contributions to his campaign, and allegations of harassment by a former staffer. The scandals have overshadowed Shelley's very pro-democracy efforts in ensuring voter verified paper trails in California.

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