By: Tom Lauder
One school board member who is facing a tough reelection battle this August admitted she made a mistake after violating Florida election law by loaning her campaign a cash contribution.
Official campaign documents show that Broward School Board Member Rosalind Osgood, who is currently the chair of the Broward School Board loaned her campaign $100 cash on July 9, 2015. Two weeks later, she contributed $1,000 in cash. Florida election law places strict limits on cash contributions.
Florida Statute 106.09(1)(a) states, “A person may not make an aggregate cash contribution…to the same candidate or committee in excess of $50 per election.” According to the law, anyone who accepts more than $50 in cash, “commits a misdemeanor of the first degree.” Accepting more than $5000 is a felony. The Florida Elections Commission can levy fines for this type of violation.
On August 15, 2015 this reporter first exposed Ogsood’s violations. She did not respond to requests for comment. According to records filed with the Broward Supervisor of Elections office, Osgood admitted to making a major mistake.
On September 9, 2015, Osgood filed an amended campaign treasurer’s report. Her cash contributions were deleted from the report. They were replaced by equal loans made by check. The amended complaint may not stop action by the Florida Elections Commission if a public complaint is filed against Osgood.
Even though the Osgood campaign corrected the report, questions still remain: why did Osgood initially give a cash contributions to her own campaign? Does she always carry around large sums of cash?
When reached for comment via email, Osgood explained, “I withdrew the cash from my personal account and loaned it to my campaign account. I then withdrew the $1,000 and wrote a check from my savings to my campaign and made the correction online.”
This August, voters from School Board District 5 will get to choose between Osgood and challenger Nathalie Lynch-Walsh. Although Osgood does not represent Coral Springs or Parkland, she is the current board chair of the school board through 2016.
Since 2010, Tom Lauder has written extensively about Florida politics and school board issues. His work has been featured on Media Trackers and RedBroward.com. He hosts “True Broward” a public affairs program on Bleeple TV.