Capitol Alert

AM Alert: FPPC imposes nearly $900,000 in fines in 2016

Jodi Remke, center, flanked by commissioners Patricia Wynne, left, and Eric Casher conduct business on Thursday, Nov. 20, 2014 in Sacramento, Calif. Remke is the chair of the Fair Political Practices Commission.
Jodi Remke, center, flanked by commissioners Patricia Wynne, left, and Eric Casher conduct business on Thursday, Nov. 20, 2014 in Sacramento, Calif. Remke is the chair of the Fair Political Practices Commission. rpench@sacbee.com

The California Fair Political Practices Commission convenes today for its final meeting of the year.

So, what exactly did the state’s political ethics watchdog accomplish in 2016? Pending the approval of a handful of cases today, the five-member commission will have collected nearly $900,000 in fines on 312 cases against crooked politicians, rogue committees and other bureaucrats who were caught breaking the law.

Here’s a rundown of the Top 5 FPPC cases of the year, by settlement amount:

▪ $114,400 fine against AB&I Foundry, a cast iron pipe manufacturing company that illegally laundered 37 campaign contributions through 17 employees and their spouses to Oakland mayoral and city council candidates.

▪ $60,000 fine against Scott Mann, the former mayor of Menifee who used campaign funds to pay for a wedding in Malibu and other personal expenses (pending approval today). Mann also agreed to have the fine publicized before his re-election attempt. He lost.

▪ $57,000 fine against Tony Mendoza, the Democratic state senator from Artesia who broke campaign-finance laws to keep money out of the hands of the Calderon family in his final days as chairman of the California Latino Legislative Caucus.

▪ $55,000 fine against Tina Baca Del Rio, the mayor pro tem of Commerce who dipped into campaign funds to remodel her kitchen and pay for other personal expenses.

▪ $45,000 fine against Mark Peterson, the sitting Contra Costa County district attorney who spent campaign funds on movie tickets, hotel rooms, cell phone bills and other personal expenses (pending approval today).

The commission meets at 1 p.m. at its headquarters on J Street.

MUST-SEE VIDEOS: Gov. Jerry Brown on California’s own satellite. Brown, talking tough about Trump administration attempts to block climate change.

WORTH REPEATING: “Have you ever seen what more than 50,000 diapers look like?” -- Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, D-San Diego, touting her holiday “Diaper Drive” for mothers in need. She said later that 65,000 were collected.

CHILDREN FIRST: Sen. Richard Pan, D-Sacramento, will introduce the “Children’s Bill of Rights” at a press conference at Discovery Tree School, 1025 P Street, at 10:30 a.m. today. As a pediatrician, Pan has become a vocal supporter of vaccinations for children, an advocate for the $2 cigarette tax hike and other health-related issues during his six years in the state Legislature. Pan’s office says the bill, sponsored by Common Sense Kids Action, lays out a framework to govern the rights of children and establishes standards for the health, safety, well-being, education and family support they need to thrive. California currently has the 47th lowest standard of living among children in poverty compared to other states, according to the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

ELECTRIC CARS: The California Public Utilties Commission will consider approving a three-year electric vehicle pilot program for Pacific Gas and Electric Company at the board’s monthly meeting. Under the program, PG&E will deploy up to 7,500 electric vehicle charging stations in multi-unit dwellings, disadvantaged communities and workplaces. The proposal allows PG&E to recoup the $130 million cost of the program from taxpayers, while retaining ownership of up to 35 percent of the total electric vehicle equipment ports installed during the pilot. The commission meets at 9:30 a.m. in San Francisco.

HOLIDAY CHEER: The Sacramento Press Club, a nonprofit organization that provides scholarships to journalism students in California, is hosting a holiday mixer at Brasserie Capitale at 5 p.m. Come for the appetizers, no-host bar or to hear Los Angeles Times reporters Chris Megerian and Melanie Mason talk about covering the presidential election.

CELEBRATE: Happy birthday to Sen. Pat Bates, R-Laguna Niguel, who turns 77 today.

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