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On eve of Bera sentencing, Scott Jones floats campaign finance reforms

Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones talks abortion, gay marriage, immigration

Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones met with The Sacramento Bee Capitol Bureau to discuss his views on abortion, gay marriage, marijuana, and immigration, among other issues.
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Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones met with The Sacramento Bee Capitol Bureau to discuss his views on abortion, gay marriage, marijuana, and immigration, among other issues.

As Rep. Ami Bera’s father prepares for sentencing Thursday for election fraud, the candidate’s Republican challenger Scott Jones is proposing a set of campaign finance changes aimed at the Democratic incumbent.

Jones issued a statement calling for campaigns to take “proactive steps” to prevent straw donors such as issuing first-time maximum contributors notices where they acknowledge they aren’t being reimbursed. Jones also wants the Federal Election Commission to require that campaigns indicate if donors are relatives of candidates as well as impose more frequent reporting of contributions.

“More has to be done to root corruption out of politics and expose conflicts,” Jones, the elected sheriff of Sacramento County, said in the statement.

Babulal Bera, 83 of La Palma, has admitted to illegally assisting his son’s campaign committee by recruiting and reimbursing donors with his own money.

The elder Bera’s attorney is arguing he shouldn’t serve time in prison while prosecutors are recommending he spend 1 year and a day behind bars, pay a fine of at least $130,200 and serve a three-year term of supervised release.

Jones, after initially calling for the justice system to run its course, has escalated his broadsides less than three months before the Nov. 8 election. He suggests the congressman was aware of the illegal fundraising scheme from the beginning and is shamefully allowing his elderly father to take the blame.

Prosecutors have said there is no evidence Bera knew about his father’s illegal activity, something the congressman has repeatedly cited. Bera’s camp shot back at Jones after his sustained attacks, issuing their first criticisms over allegations Jones made unwanted advances toward a subordinate years ago.

“Scott Jones was accused of repeated unwanted sexual advances by a 26-year-old subordinate under oath, so instead of pushing innuendo and attacks, he should address his own alarming pattern of disrespect toward women,” Bera spokeswoman Annie Ellison said.

“Rep. Bera has long been in favor of increased transparency in our political process.”

Christopher Cadelago: 916-326-5538, @ccadelago

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