SACRAMENTO -- Former state Assemblyman Jeff Miller (R-Corona) has agreed to pay a $1,000 fine for improperly accepting a gift of two tickets, arranged by a lobbyist, to a San Francisco 49ers football game.
The fine is continuing fallout from the state Fair Political Practices Commission investigation into the lobbyist firm Sloat Higgins Jensen and Associates. The probe resulted in a $133,500 fine against the firm in February for improperly making campaign contributions to about 40 politicians and gifts to three others, including Miller. It was a record fine against a lobbyist firm.
The commission determined that the politicians who received improper campaign contributions in the form of expensive wine, liquor and cigars at their fundraisers, including Gov. Jerry Brown, were unaware of the violations.
However, the state ethics agency determined that then-Assemblyman Miller "knowingly received a gift arranged by lobbying firm Sloat Higgins Jensen & Associates in violation of" the state Political Reform Act in 2011, according to documents released Monday. The tickets were worth $258 and at the time, lobbyist Kevin Sloat and his firm were registered as lobbyists for the 49ers.
State law prohibits elected officials from accepting gifts arranged by lobbyists "to prevent improper influence on public officials," according to the investigative report in the case. Gifts arranged by lobbyists "presumably present a greater threat of improper influence," the commission report says.
Neither Sloat nor Miller, who has an insurance business in Corona, returned calls seeking comment on Miller's agreement to pay the fine. Since the first fines in February, the San Francisco 49ers have dropped the Sloat firm as its lobbyist.
Meanwhile, a committee that supported Jerry Brown for governor and that was sponsored by the San Diego and Imperial Counties Labor Council has agreed to pay $7,500 in fines to the FPPC for campaign finance violations including the failure in 2010 to properly report $126,184 in independent expenditure made in support of Proposition 25, according to documents released Monday by the ethics agency.
Also Monday, the FPPC reported that Long Beach City Council member Steven Neal has agreed to pay a $200 fine for accepting a gift of tickets for the Long Beach Jazz Festival valued at $555 from Rainbow Promotions, exceeding the $420 gift limit in 2012.