Former Gov. Schwarzenegger faces fines for campaign violations
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Former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger faces $30,000 in fines by the state’s campaign watchdog agency after a ballot measure committee he formed allegedly spent $1.1 million on matters unrelated to initiatives.
Schwarzenegger and his California Dream Team ballot committee have agreed to pay the fines to the Fair Political Practices Commission, which will consider the matter March 15.
The ballot measure committee spent the money in 2009 on television and Internet advertisements outlining Schwarzenegger’s position on the budget negotiations that were going on at the time when he was battling Democratic lawmakers over rival spending plans. That violated the Political Reform Act requiring money from such committees to be spent related to local or state ballot measures, according to the stipulated agreement.
The agreement said Schwarzenegger and his committee used committee funds ‘to pay for a television and Internet advertisement entitled ‘Stand for California.’ By the plain language of the advertisement, ‘Stand for California’ did not support or oppose any state or local measure or potential measure anticipated by respondents.’
‘Additionally, the language did not allude to the support or opposition of any measure or potential measure,’’ the agreement says. The allegations were first made by Democratic Party Chairman John Burton.
‘We made the decision to settle the matter rather than continue fighting and accrue tens of thousands in legal expenses,’ said Adam Mendelsohn, a spokesman for the former governor. ‘It was a financial decision. Future governors will probably challenge the ruling at some point.’
Other proposed fines to be considered by the commission at the March 15 meeting include:
-- $49,500 in penalties against Go Lorrie’s Airport Shuttle for allegedly engaging in political money-laundering by reimbursing employees and their relatives for contributions to the campaign of San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee.
-- $24,500 in penalties against Floyd Leeson, an associate oil and gas engineer for the Department of Conservation, Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources, for allegedly violating conflict-of-interest rules when he processed permits for a company called PXP when he held an investment interest in PXP of more than $25,000 and failed to disclose his investments.
-- Patrick McGreevy in Sacramento