Circuit Judge Mike Maggio was issued a Public Letter of Warning and fined $500 by the Arkansas Ethics Commission after he allegedly took campaign funds as personal income and failed to report how the money was spent during the 2008 election.

According to documents released by the Commission, the Public Letter of Warning "is codemnatory in nature and serves to express the strong disapproval of your misconduct." The letter states further that it is "the Commission’s view that such misconduct serves to undermine public confidence in the integrity of the governmental process."

Maggio signed a written Offer of Settlement "agreeing that the Commission make a finding" that he violated Arkansas Code Annotated 7-6-203(g)(1), 7-6-206 and 7-6-207(b)(1)(E)-(H) "by taking campaign funds as personal income, by failing to maintain proper records of all campaign expenditures and by failing to properly report those expenditures on (his) Campaign Contribution and Expenditure reports filed with the Secretary of State during that particular election cycle."

The Commission’s investigation focused on three checks that were drawn on the account of Keep Mike Maggio Campaign Committee and deposited into the personal checking account of Maggio and his ex-wife, Emily. The checks were written for $500, $1,254.97 and $600.

Maggio’s C&E reports claimed the $500 check was used for a newspaper advertisement, materials for yard signs, campaign materials and invitations to fundraisers. However, receipts for the expenditures did not total $500.

Maggio claimed that the $600 check was written to pay his ex-wife for "services rendered during the course of the campaign. However, no record beyond the check itself was produced to support such an expenditure." There was also no record of the check on the C&E reports.

The check for $1,254.97 was listed on Maggio’s final C&E report as an expenditure to the Conway Country Club for a "campaign committee meeting," but was actually made out to Maggio’s ex-wife.

Both Maggio and his ex-wife told the commission that the check was used for the cost of food catered on election night and room rental fees in the amount of $600 for campaign office space at the Conway Country Club.

The Commission received conflicting evidence concerning the cost of the food, but no records were produced to substantiate the payment for room rental fees.

The Ethics Commission sent the certified letter to Maggio notifying him of the fine and warning on Oct. 5.

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