Assemblywoman Patty Lopez, the San Fernando Democrat who won her seat in a massive upset last year, failed to disclose campaign contributors and expenditures as well as her income and assets, according to three exhaustive complaints submitted to the state’s political ethics watchdog on Tuesday.
Lopez, who was fined $400 by the FPPC last year for failing to file timely pre-election reports, won in a surprise over fellow Democrat Raul Bocanegra. In an interview Wednesday, she said has yet to review the specific complaints but believes they are politically motivated.
“It’s a lot of lies. They are playing a lot of games,” she said. “They are linked with Bocanegra. They have been bullying me ... They have a game plan.”
“They are free to do what they feel is right,” she added. “We live in a free country.”
The complaints, filed by a trio of San Fernando Valley activists, contend that since Lopez provided initial paperwork declaring her candidacy for the 39th District, she’s engaged in an intentional pattern of deception against voters “that cannot be ignored nor allowed to continue,” they wrote in a letter to Fair Political Practices Commission Acting Chief Galena West. The packet was hand-delivered this week to all of Lopez’s colleagues.
Graciela Nakamura, Alejandro Morales and Rosemary Jenkins allege Lopez purposely shielded her contributions to mask her support from “fringe elements of the Republican Party” and its operatives, including GOP candidate Ricardo Benitez, who lost to Sen. Bob Hertzberg. “Voters did not have the opportunity to have the vital information required by the Political Reform Act to make informed decisions,” the letter reads.
Lopez countered that she has every right to seek the advice and assistance of Republicans.
Among the other charges spelled out in some 200 pages is that Lopez misrepresented her experience on her ballot designation.
Jenkins said by phone that the group is operating “100 percent” independently of Bocanegra, who has opened a committee to run for his old seat next year. She characterized the effort as “grassroots” and said members were planning to formally ask Lopez to resign her seat “in the near future.”
Lopez said she won’t bow to the pressure.
“If they give me a good reason to resign, I will. But people put me in this position. I didn’t do it myself. I have a lot of people who support me and they say, ‘Don’t listen to them.’” Lopez said “The only way we can move forward on the issues that are important to my district ... is to stay and to work.
“They know my heart and soul is for the people.”
Call Christopher Cadelago, Bee Capitol Bureau, (916) 326-5538. Follow him on Twitter @ccadelago.