FEC to Take No Action in Baker Case

From a Times Staff Writer

The Federal Election Commission will take no action against former Orange County congressional candidate C. David Baker for accepting an illegal campaign contribution from his aunt because Baker acted immediately to return the donation, an FEC spokesman said Wednesday.

"Due to the circumstances, the general counsel recommended and the commission accepted the recommendation that they take no further action and just close the file," spokesman Scott Moxley said.

The commission reached the unanimous decision during a meeting on Aug. 28, Moxley said.

Baker was defeated in the 1988 Republican primary by C. Christopher Cox, who went on to win in the 40th Congressional District. The seat previously had been occupied by Robert E. Badham (R-Newport Beach), who did not seek reelection.

Placed on Probation

In an unrelated incident, Baker subsequently pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge in connection with his forgery of a signature on a $48,000 check during the closing days of the campaign. He was placed on probation and ordered to perform 600 hours of community service.

Baker had told the FEC that he regarded the $11,000 payment from his aunt for radio air time as a loan that was not subject to the $1,000 federal limit on campaign contributions.

But, Moxley said, "Anything of value is a contribution subject to the same limit" as cash.

The FEC spokesman said the agency's general counsel advised against taking further action because Baker acted to return the money as soon as he was told that its acceptance would violate federal election law.

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