Two leaders of Shelby County Democrats resign

The two top officers of the Shelby County Democratic Party, chairwoman Randa Spears and vice chairwoman Deidre Malone, have resigned, as the party faces fines of more than $10,000 for two more late campaign finance filings, reports the Commercial Appeal.

The resignations of Spears on April 13 and Malone about a month earlier puts the leadership of the party in flux again, more than a year after previous chairman Bryan Carson resigned during an internal investigation into the SCDP’s finances. Spears and Malone said their resignations weren’t related to the party’s challenges.

Norma Lester, a commissioner with both the Tennessee Registry of Election Finance and the Shelby County Election Commission, confirmed Monday that the SCDP could be fined up to $10,000 by the state board for filing its year-end finance report, due Feb. 1, more than 30 days late. The SCDP could also face a smaller fine for missing the April 11 deadline to file its first quarter finance report.

Both reports were filed immediately after the SCDP became aware it missed the deadlines, she said.

She said the board will consider the party’s filing history and the justification when deciding whether to assess a fine, and how much it would be. The SCDP had previously been fined $1,500 by the state board — three fines of $500 each for the late filings of three reports due in 2013 and 2014.

Lester, a Democrat, said she’ll recommend leniency for the party, whose treasurer “got busy” and didn’t see the notices.

“The party doesn’t have $10,000 to pay,” she said. “I don’t know what the party has, but it doesn’t have $10,000.”