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Just the fax, ma’am

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Todd Bettison. But, alas, Vision 05 has given us yet more meat to gnaw on.

We previously disclosed that the PAC made illegal donations to Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick’s campaign, and that paperwork required of PACs to disclose the sources of their contributions hadn’t been filed. This time around, we’ve found that while trying to square things with the state, someone (our guess is Bettison) apparently violated Detroit Police Department policy by sending the Secretary of State’s office a PAC business letter from a department fax.

Bettison, for those of you who don’t know by now, is treasurer of Vision 05, a PAC ordered to retrieve more than $20,000 it improperly gave Kilpatrick’s campaign. The PAC can keep most of the cash, but $8,000 received from four corporations must be returned because state law prohibits corporations from making political donations.

(Three of the businesses, News Hits was interested to learn, are towing outfits that have DPD contracts. Hmmm. A cop soliciting political donations from companies doing business with his department. A little pay-to-play? News Hits is just wondering.)

Bettison, who was promoted to commander in September, has long protested that he didn’t mean to break campaign finance law, and that it was never his intent to conceal the source of all that cash flowing into Kilpatrick’s coffers. As he told News Hits previously, he just didn’t realize what the filing requirements were. And then he had problems with the filing software. And then his home computer crashed, and he didn’t want to use his work computer for what was clearly personal business.

Because that, according to DPD policy, is strictly a no-no.

Given that knowledge, if Bettison does turn out to be the phantom faxer, he can’t use ignorance to justify this latest transgression.

Here’s the deal: On Oct. 5, the Secretary of State received a faxed copy of a letter signed by Bettison asking Kilpatrick’s campaign to refund the cash. The document can be viewed on the SOS Web site. A tipster told us to check it, because it contained an interesting tidbit. He was right: The top of the scanned letter IDs it as being sent from the “DPD Public Corruption” unit fax.

We won’t even comment about that — too easy.

Cop shop spokesman James Tate says the department’s policy about using police equipment for personal business is clear: “It shouldn’t be done.” Tate wasn’t sure what the consequences would be, saying that such infractions are evaluated on a case-by-case basis. The department is investigating the matter, he says.

Bettison, strangely, has stopped answering calls from News Hits. So we couldn’t ask him if he sent the fax, and if he did, what the hell was he thinking?

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