Campaign money laundering, unidentified out-of-state money and an endangered assemblywoman’s poor record-keeping have spurred thousands of dollars in fines from California’s political watchdog.
All three parties have agreed to fines detailed in documents the California Fair Political Practices Commission made public on Monday.
The Stanislaus Republican Central Committee and its treasurer, Gary McKinsey, agreed to a $10,000 penalty for concealing the source of donations to former state legislator Tony Strickland’s unsuccessful 2010 state controller campaign.
In a series of transactions detailed by the FPPC, a pair of donors gave the maximum direct donation to Strickland and then sent a cumulative $20,000 to the Stanislaus County party organization, which in turn passed the money through to Strickland. A fundraiser for Strickland remained in touch with both donors throughout.
A bare-bones campaign that propelled Assemblywoman Patty López, D-San Fernando, to a stunning upset of a Democratic incumbent, incurred multiple penalties worth $7,500 in fines. López, who faces an uphill re-election bid against the man she ousted, Raul Bocanegra, attributed the violations to a lack of experience and money.
According to an FPPC agreement, the López campaign had several problems. It failed to file campaign statements on time and record information on contributions, loans and expenditures and spent money out of López’s personal bank account. It also neglected to deposit into a campaign account $800 from selling tamales and pupusas.
In addition to the campaign bookkeeping lapses, López incurred a $1,000 penalty for not disclosing income from real estate and her spouse’s salary.
Also agreeing to a fine was Phillips 66. The oil company failed to disclose its role in funding a campaign opposing a proposed tax increase on oil companies in Rialto, where it operated a terminal. Voters received mailers identified as coming from a committee called Californians for Good Schools and Good Jobs; Phillips 66 did not disclose its role in funding the campaign.