SACRAMENTO -- The state’s ethics agency is investigating whether political funds that went to the 2010 campaign of Assemblyman
The state Fair Political Practices Commission said in court papers it is seeking bank records from Aldo A. Flores, an attorney who has represented Hernandez, as it looks at $3,900 provided by Flores' law firm to Hernandez's campaign in 2009.
"The FPPC is actively investigating political money laundering," says the state court filing by Zachary W. Norton, counsel for the FPPC. "Specifically, evidence from the bank records may show Plaintiff (Flores) was reimbursed for his payment to the Hernandez for Assembly 2010 campaign committee."
The original lawsuit was filed by Flores in Los Angeles Superior Court asking a judge to quash subpoenas issued by the FPPC to get access to his records in two of his banks.
"I sued the the FPPC out of an ethical and legal obligation to protect confidential information of my clients," Flores said. He denied that money he contributed came from another source.
In his filed response, Norton said that evidence collected so far "provides sufficient grounds to support the subpoenas and that contributors were reimbursed for contributions."
State law requires that campaign contributors be identified so voters know who is trying to influence a campaign. "Political money laundering occurs when a donor of a campaign contribution seeks to conceal that he or she is the true source of a campaign contribution," the court filing says.
Flores, in turn, is seeking sanctions against the FPPC for abuse of process.
"This blanket attack is nothing more than an attempt to tarnish my name by powerful interest groups that see me as a threat for the work that I am doing on behalf of hard-working Californians.," Hernandez said in a statement.
He added that "the FPPC has no information that the check was improper," and while Hernandez has cooperated with the investigation "In the 5 years since these allegations were raised, the FPPC has not prompted any official letter of accusation."
The subpoenas involving money laundering are part of a larger investigation that is looking at a $100,000 loan Hernandez made to his campaign and whether he properly reported spending on fliers sent out in West Covina. Gary Winuk, chief of enforcement for the FPPC, said those issues are still being investigated.