Capitol Alert

Longtime lobbyist Brian Hatch appointed to California Fair Political Practices Commission

Jodi Remke, center, flanked by commissioners Patricia Wynne, left, and Eric Casher conduct business on Thursday, Nov. 20, 2014. Remke is the new chair of the Fair Political Practices Commission. Wynne will be replaced by former lobbyist Brian Hatch. Attorney General Xavier Becerra has yet to announce a replacement for Casher.
Jodi Remke, center, flanked by commissioners Patricia Wynne, left, and Eric Casher conduct business on Thursday, Nov. 20, 2014. Remke is the new chair of the Fair Political Practices Commission. Wynne will be replaced by former lobbyist Brian Hatch. Attorney General Xavier Becerra has yet to announce a replacement for Casher. rpench@sacbee.com

Secretary of State Alex Padilla appointed a longtime Sacramento labor lobbyist Thursday to the California Fair Political Practices Commission.

Brian Hatch, Padilla’s pick, is well-known in the third house and lobbied for the California Professional Firefighters for nearly 40 years. The announcement follows state Controller Betty Yee’s appointment of Allison Hayward, an ethics and election law attorney, to the five-member commission last week.

“I am confident that Mr. Hatch’s extensive experience with California government will serve him well as a member of the FPPC,” Padilla said in a statement.

The appointees highlight a reshuffling underway at the state’s political watchdog agency.

The FPPC acts as an independent agency and regulates campaign finance, conflicts of interest, lobbying and government ethics in California.

The governor is required to appoint two new commissioners from different parties to begin serving the February following a gubernatorial election. Gov. Jerry Brown named Jodi Remke, a Democrat, as chair and appointed Maria Audero, a Republican, to a four-year term on the commission in 2015.

California’s secretary of state, state controller and attorney general are required to appoint one new member each following a presidential election. Attorney General Xavier Becerra has yet to announce his replacement for Eric Casher, appointed by Kamala Harris in 2013.

Hatch is retired, but once had a hand “in nearly every significant advance affecting firefighters’ lives and livelihoods,” according to the secretary of state’s office. His daughter, Christy Bouma, now lobbies for the California Professional Firefighters and serves as president of the Institute of Governmental Advocates, an association of lobbyists in Sacramento. Hatch takes the spot of outgoing Commissioner Patricia Wynne, appointed by Debra Bowen.

“I don’t think lobbyists get a pass from me just because I was one,” Hatch said in an interview Thursday. “I am going to be looking to see that we’re focusing the most attention we can on the things that are deliberate and need to be dealt with in a strong way.”

Hatch, 76, lives in Long Beach and said he’s been retired for nearly a decade.

Hayward, a Republican, serves on the board of the Office of Congressional Ethics for the U.S. House of Representatives and previously worked as a chief counsel to a commissioner on the Federal Elections Commission. She replaces Gavin Wasserman on the commission.

Dan Schnur, a lecturer at the University of Southern California and former chair of the FPPC, said the new appointees appear to strike an important balance for the commission.

“You want people who understand election law, but you also want people who understand the way campaigns work,” Schnur said. “Having both the legal and the practical perspective on the commission is what makes it work best.”

Taryn Luna: 916-326-5545, @TarynLuna

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