SACRAMENTO -- The state Fair Political Practices Commission on Thursday approved $60,000 in fines against former California Senate Majority Leader Dean Florez for violations that include using $26,541 in campaign funds for his personal benefit to buy things such as Lady Gaga concert tickets, a family ski trip to Utah, expensive meals and gasoline.
The fine against the Democratic politician is a record amount for a case involving the misuse of campaign funds for personal gain, said Gary Winuk, chief of enforcement for the commission, who released new details of the case.
“The commission takes very seriously the misuse of campaign funds,” Winuk said. “This was one of the most egregious examples in commission history of abuse of campaign funds.”
Florez represented a San Joaquin Valley district until 2010, when he briefly raised money for a run, later abandoned, for lieutenant governor. The FPPC said Florez made 168 personal purchases from the lieutenant governor committee and one for a 2014 candidacy for state controller.
The administrative charges also include the failure to return $247,000 he had raised for his lieutenant governor campaign once it was dropped.
Florez admitted spending $840 in campaign funds on concert tickets and $6,700 on gasoline as well as on purchases at Best Buy, Wal-Mart, Home Depot, Ikea, Beck’s Furniture and Bed Bath & Beyond.
Money also was improperly spent on a subscription to SiriusXM satellite radio, monthly parking passes, a golf shirt and Internet, cable TV and phone bills unrelated to his campaign, the agency said.