Capitol Alert

California lawmaker was accused of harassment. Now his campaign spending is under investigation

California ethics officials have opened an investigation into Assemblyman Bill Brough, R-Dana Point, over concerns about his use of campaign funds. He is accused of using the money to pay off his family’s cell phone bill, go out to fancy restaurants and take a personal trip to a Boston Red Sox game.

The complaint, prompted by the work of a conservative blogger, is being reviewed by the Fair Political Practices Commission, according to an Aug. 20 letter the commission sent. Aaron Park, who frequently posts to his “Right on Daily blog,” also raised concerns over a $1,200 restaurant bill, a $1,321 custom-made liquor cabinet and $1,311 for cigars and a high-end humidor.

Brough was elected to the Assembly in 2014. The total payments in question since he took office add up to nearly $200,000.

The Orange County Republican came under fire earlier this summer after multiple women accused him of making unwanted sexual advances. One accuser claimed Brough was drunk at the time.

“I’ve been advised by the FPPC that they have not made any determination about the validity of the allegations made or about the culpability, if any, of any person,” Brough said in a statement.

Brough received a letter from the commission on July 12 informing him of the concerns raised. Jay Wierenga, a spokesman for the FPPC, did not offer a timeline for when the investigation would be completed.

Assembly Republican leader Marie Waldron called the complaints “serious” but did not push for Brough to resign. She and Senate Republican leader Shannon Grove previously called the sexual harassment allegations against him “serious and troubling.”

“I was just made aware of the investigation into Assemblyman Brough’s campaign finances,” Waldron said in a statement. “While these claims are serious, it would be premature to make a judgment on the validity of the allegations before the FPPC investigators have completed their work.”

Bryan Anderson is a political reporter for The Bee. He covers the California Legislature and reports on wildfires and transportation. He also hosts The Bee’s “California Nation” podcast.