Spring Turns In Last of Her Campaign Amendments

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Friday August 10, 2007

Councilmember Dona Spring turned in the last of her 2006 campaign statement amendments to the Berkeley City Clerk’s office Thursday. 

The amendments—which include the rescheduling of a loan—will be posted on the city’s website today (Friday), confirmed city staffer Leslie Roma over the telephone to the Planet. 

Spring, currently serving her fifteenth year as District 4 councilmember, is being investigated by the Berkeley Fair Campaign Practices Commission (FCPC) for possible violations by the Dona Spring for City Council Committee.  

At least 28 separate contributions of or exceeding $50 and a campaign loan were omitted from Spring’s campaign filings from the 2006 election season.  

Spring, who uses a wheelchair and participates in city council meetings remotely because she suffers from a painful chronic autoimmune disease, until recently has served as her own treasurer. She explained that some of the contributors were omitted in part because she relied on an office services business, which failed to do some tasks, and she lacked up-to-date computer software.  

“The majority of my contributors had been filed into the database,” Spring told the Planet over a telephone interview Thursday. 

“The office business service had failed to enter the names into Form 460, the form used to file campaign finances. I take the blame for not turning in about half a dozen names. In the flurry of campaign activities, some of the copies of the checks did not get to their office.” 

Spring added that all the contributions had been verified in an amendment filed in April. 

“All the expenses in the 2006 campaign statement have been verified except for one slight discrepancy. My bank has $68 more than what is shown on my financial forms. I have to look into that.” 

The City Clerk’s office will be handing over the amended statements to the City Attorney’s Office.  

“City Attorney Manuela Alburquerque is currently on vacation but when she gets back we will discuss how we want to resolve this case,” said Spring. 

“I want to continue working with the city attorney’s office to come to a resolution.” 

Campaign violations have been committed by other officials, including former Berkeley mayor Shirley Dean, mayoral candidate Don Jelinek and Rent Board commissioner Chris Kavanagh, in the past. In an interview with the Planet last week Assistant City Attorney Kristy Van Herick said that it was possible that Spring’s violations could be resolved with a settlement. 

The FCPC is scheduled to hold a hearing on Sept 19 to determine whether a violation took place.  

Spring spent the last few weeks getting all her financial information sorted out from her bank and matching it with her campaign statements. 

“It has been a very exhaustive process,” she said. “I feel I have made every effort to reveal all the information. I have correlated all my campaign statements with my bank statements and corrected all the mistakes to make sure that the public knows where my campaign contributions come from and that people are abiding with the contribution limit. I am complying with the law. I went over all the figures with my volunteers forward and backward a hundred times. We will always be making mistakes but the important thing is that you correct your mistakes and I feel I have done that. It’s all an open book now.”