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Ross says he doesn’t need to disclose campaign sign costs

LOCKPORT – Legislature Chairman William L. Ross said this week that he doesn’t need to report the Republican Party’s spending for the yard signs he’s using in his re-election campaign.

Ross, a Wheatfield Conservative running with GOP backing, is facing Sean M. O’Laughlin, a Republican endorsed by the Democratic Party, in a GOP primary Tuesday in the 2nd District, covering parts of Wheatfield and Lewiston.

County Democratic Party Chairman Nicholas J. Forster contended that Ross, who has never filed a financial disclosure form in his political career, ought to have done so because the new signs constitute a donation to his campaign.

Ross has never held a fundraiser. “I’m not interested in any checks,” he said. He files only forms that reflect his lack of spending or contributions. Ross said he was willing to reimburse the GOP for the signs, but county Republican Chairman Scott P. Kiedrowski said there’s no need for him to do that. He said the party’s expenditures on Ross have been less than the $1,000 filing threshold under state Election Law. Ross said he has reused some old signs, but the GOP also bought some new ones. He said he intends to file his usual “in-lieu-of” statement that he has no contributions or expenditures totaling more than $1,000.

“I guess in 20 years, Bill Ross never raised one cent or spent one cent,” Forster said sarcastically. “Know what? I think he got his hand caught in the cookie jar.”

Ross, who said his only personal campaign expenditure this year was for a roll of 100 postage stamps, noted that O’Laughlin hasn’t filed any financial disclosure forms, either.

O’Laughlin said the county Democratic Party gave him $900 and he brought in nearly $3,500 at a fundraiser. He said he has received only four checks of $100 or more, two from family members and two from close friends.

As for his lack of information on the state Board of Elections website, O’Laughlin said, “I have been attempting to file since July 6. We’re waiting for the PIN and password.”