A mailer sent by the San Fernando Police Officers Assn. endorsing two City Council candidates may have violated campaign finance laws, said Councilman Raul Godinez II, who has asked the state Fair Political Practices Commission to investigate the matter.
A spokesman for the police organization denied the charge before referring calls to the association’s lawyer, who was not available for comment.
Godinez “is basically out of line,” said Sgt. Bob Ordelheide of the San Fernando Police Department. “The allegations are not true.” But Godinez said the mailer was an apparent violation of new campaign rules approved by voters last year with the passage of Proposition 208.
Among other restrictions, Proposition 208 limits individual gifts, depending on the office and ground rules for each election, to between $250 and $1,000.
The mailer in question, a 3-by-5-inch postcard containing stickers with the 911 emergency number and endorsements for candidates Donald Mauran and Virginia Mendoza, was recently sent by the police association to homes and businesses throughout the city.
Godinez, who has contributed money to and endorsed two other council candidates, characterized the mailer as an “in-kind” donation, with a value exceeding the law’s $100 limit per candidate.
“If it was done illegally then it was an unfair advantage,” Godinez said. “They are entitled to support their candidate, but they’ve got to do it in a way that meets the letter of the law.”
Mendoza said she had no knowledge of the mailer until one arrived at her home last week.
“When I saw the mailer I was delighted,” she said. “This endorsement means a lot to me. I imagine if [Godinez’s] candidates had been endorsed he would have been delighted.”
“I think [Godinez] is a rabble-rouser who wants to shoot off his mouth before he learns the facts,” Mauran said. “I don’t believe the police officers association has done anything illegal.”
Gary Huckaby, a spokesman for the FPPC, would neither confirm nor deny that an investigation into the matter was underway. But Huckaby did say that the new campaign rules, which went into effect Jan. 1, have caused a good deal of confusion.
“It’s a very complex law and people have a lot of questions about what is allowed and what is illegal,” he said.