Doug Quelland maintains he didn’t break any laws during his successful 2008 campaign for the House of Representatives, claiming he didn’t do the things the Citizens Clean Elections Commission had determined earlier this year when it recommended his removal from elected office.
The entity, which regulates the state’s publicly financed candidates, also failed to conduct a proper investigation, he told an administrative law judge today in his testimony during his appeal of the Commission’s ruling.
“They never investigated the documents,” he said, pounding his fist on the table in front of him. Quelland was referring to the financial records of Intermedia Public Relations, a firm he contracted in 2007 to run his campaign.
Among the key pieces of evidence used by the Commission were invoices Intermedia owner Larry Davis said were presented to Quelland for campaign work and checks for those amounts drawn off of Quelland’s business account. The embattled lawmaker said the money was for work Davis’ firm performed promoting Quelland’s businesses, including a now-defunct coffee shop, and that he never received any Intermedia invoices for political work.
“Number one, I wouldn’t have paid them. Number two, I would have questioned why they were sending them to me,” he said.
Quelland said it didn’t make any sense for him to hire an off-the-books political consultant, as the Commission and its attorneys have asserted, by using his business to fund the operation.
“If I was trying to hide something, I’d pay cash, wouldn’t I?” he said during his testimony.
The third-term legislator, a Republican from District 10, acknowledged he did sign a contract in March 2007 for Intermedia to manage his campaign for the following year’s election. However, he said he cancelled the contract two days later, after Davis recommended using attack ads against his Democratic opponent that would have focused on her family.
“All sorts of bells and whistles went off,” Quelland said. “It was just not a good fit… Mr. Davis and I were not a good fit.”
Instead, Quelland said he contacted Constantin Querard, a prominent Republican consultant, and arranged for him to run the campaign.
However, he said he entered into a “gentleman’s agreement” with Davis only a few weeks later for the latter’s firm to promote Quelland’s businesses. And Davis, Quelland said, also said he wanted to volunteer for the legislative campaign.
“The only thing that was ever said was volunteer, volunteer,” he said.
Querard also testified in Quelland’s defense, telling Judge Thomas Shedden he and Quelland agreed in the spring of 2007 to work together, but did not make the arrangement official in order to avoid violating Clean Elections laws.
Quellend also told the court, at the prompting of his attorney, Tim Casey, that everything Davis and his employees did for the campaign – including designing fliers, collecting signatures and purchasing campaign supplies with a campaign debit card – was done voluntarily.
That contradicts what Davis told the court last month, during the first two days of testimony, and what a pair of Intermedia employees said today. Everyone employed by Intermedia has told the court they worked on the campaign as employees, not volunteers, and were paid to do so, ostensibly under the contract Quelland and Davis signed.
Quelland’s testimony continues Sept. 22, but closing arguments will not be submitted in writing until Oct. 14. A decision is not required until early November.