FPPC Enforcement Decisions: May 16, 2013

The following are enforcement decisions approved by the Fair Political Practices Commission at its regular monthly meeting held on Thursday, May 16, 2013. Decisions are listed by category and include a brief summary of each case and the total amount of any administrative fine or fines in each case.

Additional information on each of the enforcement cases below can be found in the May agenda on the FPPC website at www.fppc.ca.gov. FPPC agendas are distributed and posted on the agency website at least 10 days prior to each monthly meeting.

The web version of the agenda includes links to the stipulations agreed to by the commission and by the individuals and organizations subject to the fines, or the default decisions proposed to the commission. Exhibits in support of the stipulations and proposed default decisions are also available on the website. If you are unable to access the FPPC website, or need further assistance, please call the FPPC communications office at (916) 322-7761.


Conflict of Interest Violations

California law states that, absent an exception, a public official may not make, participate in making or in any way attempt to use his or her official position to influence a governmental decision in which he or she knows or has reason to know he or she has a financial interest. The following officials made, participated in making, or attempted to influence a governmental decision:

Marc Richardson, Director of Recreation and Parks for the City of Santa Rosa, received gifts including free golf course access, range access, cart use, lessons and merchandise discounts that exceeded the reporting threshold of $50 in 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011, and failed to report these gifts on his Annual Statements of Economic Interests. Additionally, Mr. Richardson received gifts exceeding the applicable gift limit from one source in 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012. He impermissibly made, participated in the making, or influenced a governmental decision by assisting in the negotiations of agreements with Bennett Valley Golf Course and recommending to the Santa Rosa City Council that it enter into and amend agreements with Bennett Valley Golf Course, which was the source of a gift that exceeded the annual gift limit. $6,500 fine.

Sam Downing was named President/Chief Executive Officer ("CEO") of Salinas Valley Memorial Hospital ("SVMH") in 1985 and held that position until his retirement on or about April 30, 2011. As the CEO of SVMH, Mr. Downing was a public official, as defined in the Political Reform Act, and was a designated employee in the Conflict of Interest Code for SVMH. Mr. Downing violated the conflict of interest provisions of the Act when he executed a contract to waive the security amount to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation limits of $100,000, for the benefit of First Capital Bank, in which he knew, or had reason to know, he had a financial interest. He also violated the financial disclosure requirements of the Act by failing to disclose his $50,000 interest in First Capital Bank on his 2007 Annual Statement of Economic Interests. $5,000 fine.

Campaign Reporting Violations

Tony Bushala, an active major donor committee in 2012, failed to timely file a preelection statement covering the period January 1, 2012, through March 17, 2012, due March 22, 2012; failed to timely file a preelection statement covering the period March 18, 2012, through May 19, 2012, due May 24, 2012; failed to timely file a preelection statement covering the period July 1, 2012, through September 30, 2012, due October 5, 2012; and, failed to timely file a preelection statement covering October 1, 2012, through October 20, 2012, due October 25, 2012. $9,500 fine.

Christopher Kelly, Kelly for Attorney General 2010, and Jane Leiderman, Treasurer. Chris Kelly ran for Attorney General in 2010 but lost in the Primary Election. Kelly for Attorney General 2010 was his campaign committee and Jane Leiderman served as the committee's treasurer. They failed to timely report required subvendor information on a preelection campaign statement covering the period March 18, 2010, through May 22, 2010, due May 27, 2010, for expenditures totaling $7,729,352, and failed to timely report required subvendor information on a semi-annual campaign statement covering the period May 23, 2010, through June 30, 2010, due August 2, 2010, for expenditures totaling $2,192,168. $2,500 fine.

Brian Walters, a board member for the Newhall School District, failed to timely file a Short Form Campaign Statement (Form 470) covering the 2012 calendar year, due July 31, 2012. $200 fine.

Lobbying Reporting Violation

California law requires lobbying entities to file registration forms and quarterly reports to provide the public with specified information. The following failed to timely file the required forms or failed to include all required information:

Sullivan Solar Power, a California lobbyist employer, and Daniel Sullivan, Sullivan Solar Power's
President and Responsible Officer, failed to timely file Lobbyist Employer Reports (Form 635) covering the periods October 1, 2011, through September 30, 2012, failing to disclose total payments made for lobbying services in the amount of $90,000. $4,000 fine.

Statement of Economic Interests Violations

California law requires elected officials, certain board members and governmental employees, and consultants employed by governmental entities to complete and file Statements of Economic Interests (SEIs or Form 700s). SEIs serve a dual purpose: they make a filer aware of personal economic interests relative to a governmental decision, and they are an important disclosure document for the public and media. The following individuals failed to include all economic interests that were required to be disclosed:

Richard Hovden served as the Park Planning and Development Manager for the Recreation and Parks Department of the City of Santa Rosa from 2007 through February 2013. From 2008 through 2011, he received gifts of over $50 from Bennett Valley Golf Course that he did not report on his Annual Statements of Economic Interests. Additionally, in 2009 through 2012, he accepted gifts from Bennett Valley Golf Course in excess of the annual gift limits. $3,000 fine.

Jack Gingles, as Mayor for the City of Calistoga and Member of the Association of Bay Area Governments, failed to timely disclose economic interests consisting of an investment in, and income from, a business he owned as well as his ownership interest in the real property housing the business on his 2009 Annual Statement of Economic Interests covering the period January 1, 2009, through December 31, 2009, due April 1, 2010. $200 fine.

Michael J. Rubio, as a Senator for the State of California, failed to timely disclose his economic interest in the purchaser of his real property as a source of income on the 2011 Annual Statement of Economic Interests covering the period January 1, 2011, through December 31, 2011, due March 1, 2012. $200 fine.

Late Contribution Reporting Violation

California law requires that when contributions of $1,000 or more are made during the final days of an election, late contribution reports must be filed within 24 hours of making or receiving the "late" contribution. The following failed to file a late contribution report as required:

San Mateo County Democratic Central Committee and Xavier R. Martinez, Treasurer, failed to timely file Late Contribution Reports (Form 497) covering the periods August 22, 2009, due on August 23, 2009, and October 27, 2010, due October 28, 2010, with the Secretary of State. $2,400 fine.

Major Donor Reporting Violation

A major donor is an individual or entity who makes contributions totaling $10,000 or more in a calendar year and is required to file campaign reports detailing how much was contributed and to whom. The following failed to file major donor reports as required by law:

Mark Hall. In 2008, Mark Hall was a major donor who made contributions in excess of $27,000 to Amy
Bublak for City Council and Friends of Kurt Vander Weide in connection with the election for Turlock City Council. Mr. Hall failed to file the required Major Donor Committee Campaign Statements (Form 461) for the reporting periods ending September 30, 2008, due October 6, 2008 and October 18, 2008, due October 23, 2008. $1,600 fine.

# # #