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Senate hopeful's report overdue

Republican McBride's staff claims it has mailed in the required financial report, months late, after getting an extension.

By ANITA KUMAR
Published August 10, 2006


WASHINGTON - Almost three months after the deadline, the U.S. Senate has not received a mandatory report outlining the personal finances of Senate candidate Will McBride.

The Senate Office of Public Records did not have a copy of the report at closing time Wednesday, nor did it have a document showing the Orlando lawyer was granted an extension.

McBride's staff said the Republican candidate's campaign had been granted an extension until Aug. 4 but could not explain why the Senate office did not have a document indicating that. Late Wednesday, the campaign offered a copy of the financial disclosure and a certified mail receipt showing it had been sent.

"You really need to comply," said Peter Monroe, a Senate opponent and Safety Harbor developer.

Ever since McBride first hinted he might be willing to put his own money into the race, his opponents and political observers have been waiting to see his financial records.

It's unclear how much McBride is worth but his father-in-law, Stuart Epperson, owns Salem Communications, which has more than 100 Christian radio stations across the nation, including some in Florida.

McBride, 33, has never run for public office before. So far, he has donated $68,000 to his campaign.

Candidates for federal office were required to turn in a document outlining their worth, income and liabilities on May 15.

McBride faces Monroe, Rep. Katherine Harris and LeRoy Collins, a retired admiral from Tampa, in the Republican primary on Sept. 5.

Harris, the presumptive nominee, and Monroe sent their reports on time. Collins failed to turn one in until his campaign was informed of the requirement by the St. Petersburg Times. "Whether you have experience or not, there are going to be some hiccups related to reporting requirements," said Chris Ingram, Collins' campaign manager.

The Times has repeatedly requested the document from McBride's campaign. The staff said in the past that he had received an extension, and then said this week the document could be obtained from the Senate.

The Senate Ethics Committee can grant extensions of 30, 60 or 90 days. The committee staff is supposed to notify the Office of Public Records of any extension.

A candidate who does not file a financial disclosure report can be fined up to $11,000. Filing a report more than 30 days late can carry a penalty of $300.

Harris reported campaign assets worth between nearly $7-million and $37-million. She has donated $3-million of her own money so far. Monroe, who has put in $110,000 of his own money, reported assets between $1.3-million and $3-million. Collins reported assets between $1.9-million and $7.6-million.

Times researcher Angie Drobnic Holan contributed to this report.