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Campaign website improperly called contributions tax deductible

A Saratoga Springs mayoral candidate's campaign is playing clean up after her website erroneously informed supporters that contributions were tax deductible.

Shortly after the campaign website of Democrat Joanne Yepsen went live and for the past few days, the donation page has read, "Contributions are tax deductible." However, these types of contributions are not tax deductible under state and federal tax law. The error was fixed on Tuesday afternoon, less than an hour after the Gazette notified her campaign about the incorrect language.

Yepsen spokesman Stephen Napier said the language was an error made by a contractor the campaign hired to create and maintain the website. He had been aware of the mistake when the donation page initially went up, but at that time he believed the problem had been fixed.

The Gazette noticed the error on Saturday night.

"I'll be reaching out to each donor individually to be sure that there was no confusion on their end," Napier wrote in an email on Tuesday. At least eight people have contributed to Yepsen's mayoral campaign online, according to her website on Tuesday afternoon.

Saratoga Springs Republican Committee Chairman David Harper said he was puzzled by the mistake, since Yepsen is the veteran of multiple campaigns.

"It makes you wonder what other financial or tax mistakes she would make if elected mayor," he said.

In response to this, Napier said, "That's totally out of bounds. It's not something she was aware of or should have been."

This is not the first campaign finance issue linked to Yepsen, whose campaign committee for supervisor incorrectly had a negative balance in its January filing with the state, according to Napier.

"There was an accounting error from Joanne's previous treasurer," he wrote in an email. "[A] new treasurer is working with the board of elections to fix everything."

State Board of Elections spokesman John Conklin said Yepsen's treasurer is working with the BOE's Campaign Finance Unit. He said two amendments were filed on April 8, which was three days after the Gazette contacted Yepsen about the negative balance.

A full story on this will be in the Wednesday issue of the Daily Gazette.

Follow @poozer87 on Twitter.

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