GOSHEN, Ind. — The Elkhart County Election Board is investigating a complaint that former Goshen Mayor and current Goshen School Board Member, Allan Kauffman (D), committed election crimes by actions he took during a fundraising campaign for several school board candidates earlier this year. The issue revolves around essentially a money laundering scheme in which Kauffman was given money raised by a third party for a campaign from several donors, then made a lump sum donation in his name to multiple school board candidates he was supporting, making it appear as if it were a private, personal donation made only by him. The alleged reason for the actions was to hide the names of the people making the donations.
According to Indiana election law, a third party that raises money in this fashion must be registered as a Political Action Committee (PAC). The PAC must file public reports with the names of donors that includes the amounts of their donations. Making donations in the name of another person is a crime.
Indiana Code 3-14-1-11 states the following:
Sec. 11. A person who:
(1) recklessly makes a contribution in the name of another person; or
(2) knowingly accepts a contribution made by one person in the name of another
commits a Class B misdemeanor.
Included in the complaint to the Election Board is social media posts made by Kauffman admitting to the scheme. In one post, Kauffman says “The donations were combined and given to me to apportion to the candidates…”
Also included in the complaint is a Facebook message sent from school board candidate Mario Garber in which he confirms the potential campaign finance crimes.
“My understanding is that a large number of retired teachers and others donated to the cause. Someone collected the donations and gave them to Allan (Kauffman) and he distributed among the candidates.” Garber wrote.
According to campaign finance forms filed with the Elkhart County Clerk’s Office, Kauffman made two large donations to school board candidate Roger Nafziger’s campaign totalling nearly $6,000.
According to the complaint, Kauffman is accused of making similar donations to other school board candidates as well. However, those campaign finance documents were not immediately available for RNM to review.
Kauffman was questioned about the scheme at an Elkhart County Election Board meeting earlier this week. That meeting was the beginning of a fact-finding mission into the allegations. The Election Board plans to pick up the issue again at later meetings that have yet to be scheduled.
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What are these incumbent school board members and Superintendents working so hard to protect causing them to act in ways that seem, at a minimum, shady; more likely unethical; but that would even be considered illegal by anyone? What are they afraid of? Skeletons in the closet? Back room deals coming to light? Is it just plain ego and a fear of losing any power and control? I really don’t get it.
I agree with you Bryan Jones. I feel it has a lot to do with power and control. Never trust a government or a school board.