SACRAMENTO — The San Joaquin County Republican Central Committee/California Republican Victory Fund has been ordered to pay $5,000 in fines for accepting a larger than allowed contribution.
California’s Fair Political Practices Commission unanimously approved the fines at its Nov. 17 meeting.
The penalty is a result of the Victory Fund accepting $50,000 from the committee known as Re-Elect Bill Emmerson for Senate 2012.
According to the FPPC, the Republican Central Committee accepted the contribution on Oct. 22, 2012, and deposited the money into its candidate account.
That year, there was a calendar year limit of $32,500 that a political party committee could accept from a single person. Over-the-limit contributions could be accepted and kept only if the funds were split between an all-purposes account used for candidates and a restricted-use account.
Monies in an all-purpose or candidates account can be used for anything, including contributions to state and local candidates or ballot measure committees, independent expenditures or administrative expenses, among others, the FPPC states.
Restricted use accounts cannot be used to make contributions to state candidates or committees that contribute to state candidates. Restricted use accounts, however, can be used for administrative expenses, contributions to local candidates or committees and for independent expenditures.
No more than $32,500 could be deposited into the all-purpose account, the FPPC said.
According to the FPPC, the Republican Central Committee never transferred the over-the-limit portion of that contribution — $17,500 — into its restricted-use account.
In fact, the Franchise Tax Board’s audit report found that at least $7,620 of that over-the-limit amount was used to make a $40,000 contribution to the Bill Berryhill for Senate 2012 committee on Oct. 29, 2012, the FPPC said.
Berryhill ultimately lost to Cathleen Galgiani that year by 2,923 votes, or one percentage point. His committee terminated in 2013.
Emmerson, who represented Riverside County, also lost his election that year. It was his second bid for state senator.
Louis Lemos was the committee’s treasurer at the time and no longer holds the post.
Lemos was treasurer when the committee committed a similar violation in 2008. In that year, the committee funneled contributions to Berryhill’s campaign when he successfully ran for the California Assembly.
A maximum penalty of $5,000 was imposed at that time as well.
With the FPPC’s decision, the Republican Central Committee must also transfer the $17,500 to its restricted-use account.
Calls and emails to Republican Central Committee Chairwoman Susan Vander Schaaf and Treasurer Charles Roots were not returned.
— Contact reporter Wes Bowers at (209) 546-8258 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him at recordnet.com/bowersblog and on Twitter @WBowersTSR.