The Enforcement Division is a team of lawyers, investigators, auditors, political reform consultants and support staff that investigate and administratively prosecute suspected violations of the Political Reform Act.
The Enforcement Division analyzes and processes over 1,500 complaints and referrals per year about potential violations of the Act. Complaints and referrals are received from citizens, other government agencies, and the media. The Enforcement Division also investigates on its own initiative. The division also operates a campaign audit program of both mandatory and discretionary audits. A matter will be fully investigated if there is sufficient information to believe that a violation of the Act has occurred.
Administrative Enforcement Case Resolutions
A complaint can be resolved in several ways depending on the strength of the evidence, the particular facts, and the amount of public harm involved. If there is insufficient evidence to prosecute, a case may be closed with a letter finding no violation or an advisory letter. If the seriousness of the offense and public harm are low, a warning letter may be issued identifying a violation of the Act but concluding a monetary fine is not warranted. Finally, if the case merits pursuit of a fine, the Enforcement Division will prosecute the violators and may seek penalties of up to $5,000 per violation, which must be approved by the Commissioners.
During an investigation the Enforcement Division may uncover evidence of criminal misconduct, or an outside agency may uncover evidence of local violations of the Act. It is common in these circumstances for each agency to notify the other and collaboratively enforce California law. In addition, the FPPC also assists district attorneys and authorized city attorneys in analyzing, investigation and prosecuting local violations of the Act.