Two area firefighters fined for illegal political contributions - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Two area firefighters fined for illegal union political contributions

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A Merrill fire captain and a Stevens Point fire lieutenant have been fined for their roles in illegal political contributions while they served as leaders in the state firefighter's union, according to recently released federal documents.

Michael Drury and Tracy Aldrich, along with nine other former executive board members of the Professional Fire Fighters of Wisconsin (PFFW), were fined $58,000 by the Federal Election Commission for violating campaign contribution laws.

According to FEC documents, the former board members submitted reimbursement requests to the labor union for travel and per diem costs for meetings that were supposedly held in Madison, but which never happened. The reimbursement was designed to cover the costs of the members' contributions to a political action fund sponsored by the International Association of Fire Fighters. It is illegal to use labor union money for political contributions.

The eleven board members pocketed $18,263.34 in reimbursements from 2002-2010, according to FEC documents. That money was later paid back.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports the union picked up the costs of the fines and attorney's fees for each former board member.

Drury, who currently works as a fire captain in the Merrill Fire Department, served on the union board for 14 years, according to PFFW documents, most recently as secretary/treasurer. He resigned in 2010.

Newsline 9 left a message on Drury's cell phone seeking comment, but he did not return our call.

Aldrich is a lieutenant in the Stevens Point Fire Department, according to the city's website. He was last listed as a PFFW board member in the fall 2008 magazine published by the union.

Aldrich declined to comment.

As part of the FEC penalty, Aldrich, Drury, and six other former board members are not allowed to run for election to the PFFW board until June 30, 2013. The other three aren't allowed to run until 2015.

The penalties were effective August 3.

To read the entire FEC document detailing the case and penalties, visit http://eqs.nictusa.com/eqsdocsMUR/12044320790.pdf.

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