LocalPolitiCal

Assemblyman Alejo to return $21,092 in excess campaign contributions

ElectionsPoliticsLuis A. Alejo

SACRAMENTO -- State Assemblyman Luis Alejo (D-Watsonville) has agreed to return $21,092 in excess campaign contributions to a group called Voters for a New California that was caught violating campaign finances rules.

The payment is the amount over the $3,900 campaign contribution limit that the group spent on mailers supporting Alejo in the June 2010 primary. The group has paid $6,500 in fines to the state Fair Political Practices Commission to settle its end of the case.

An investigation by the state Fair Political Practices Commission found that Joaquin Ross headed the Voters group and was campaign manager for Alejo, an improper coordination of independent expenditures that made the mailers subject to campaign contribution limits.

In a separate case disclosed Monday, the FPPC said it investigated gifts from corporations to 221 public officials throughout California and found that only 16 of the officials had properly reported the meals and other gifts.

As a result, 86 officials, including city, county and school officials, are facing up to hundreds of dollars in fines each and the requirement that they amend their annual statements of personal finances filed with the state to reflect the gifts, many of which were meals from Shea Properties and the investment banking firm E.J. De La Rosa & Co., which helps government agencies with bonding.

Some examples of the fines:

-- Danny Villanueva, as the assistant director of business advisory services for the Los Angeles County Office of Education, failed to properly disclose four meals totaling $409.12 in 2010 from E.J. De La Rosa & Co. The enforcement staff proposes he pay $200 in fines.

-- Chuck Fuentes, as the city manager of Pico Rivera, failed to properly disclosue  two meals and drinks totalling $173.97. He faces fines of $200.

-- James Mussenden, the city manager for El Monte, failed to properly report gifts of golf and a meal totaling $275.75 from E.J. De La Rosa & Co. in 2009. He has agreed to pay a $200 penalty.

The FPPC undertook the investigation after hearing from the Ventura district attorney’s office that it had executed search warrants throughout City Hall and uncovered evidence of unreported gifts to several city officials.

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patrick.mcgreevy@latimes.com

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