Capitol Alert

FPPC proposes fine against Controller Betty Yee on campaign reports

State Controller Betty Yee
State Controller Betty Yee Board of Equalization

California’s political watchdog is proposing a fine against State Controller Betty Yee, alleging she failed to file seven campaign reports during her successful bid for office two years ago.

The Fair Political Practices Commission said Yee’s campaign failed to submit six 24-hour reports for contributions ranging from $2,000 to $10,800 to her campaign committee. Within 90 days of an election, rules require donors and recipients to report contributions of $1,000 or more within 24 hours.

The agency said Yee’s campaign also failed to file a report detailing $30,400 in contributions to her campaign.

Yee said her treasurer, Jane Leiderman of Leiderman and Associates in Los Angeles, took responsibility for the mistakes and agreed to pay the fine.

“It’s always unfortunate when there is not compliance, and I do regret that the FPPC imposed the fine,” Yee said. “My treasurer has taken full responsibility, and everything has been handled responsibly.”

In a written statement, Leiderman absolved Yee of any wrongdoing and said she regretted “the reputational harm this matter may have caused.” Leiderman has been named in five FPPC warning letters related to other cases and three different stipulation agreements since 2011.

The FPPC discovered the violations, which occurred between March and November of 2014, in an audit performed by its enforcement division, according to case documents. The agency said it found no evidence of any intent to conceal the contributions.

Yee cast the situation as an “unusual circumstance.” She intends to keep working with Leiderman, whom she said she’s been with “since the beginning.”

“It’s mistakes that I won’t tolerate,” Yee said. “ We put some checks and balances in place, so now I’m notified when these are done in real time.”

Yee ran for controller after two terms on the Board of Equalization, and many considered her an underdog in the race. She barely edged out Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez in the June primary and went on to defeat Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin in the general election.

The five-member commission will vote on a proposed fine, which is set at $2,082, at its July 21 meeting.

Taryn Luna: 916-326-5545, @TarynLuna