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Lobbyist Kevin Sloat 'regrets' improper campaign contributions

SACRAMENTO -- Breaking his silence after admitting his firm made improper payments to approximately 40 elected officials, lobbyist Kevin Sloat said Monday that the company has put new controls in place to prevent future violations.

In an agreement released Monday by the state Fair Political Practices Commission, Sloat admitted that he and his firm made improper, nonmonetary campaign contributions to elected officials by providing expensive wine, liquor and cigars at their fundraisers at Sloat's home.

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Sloat has agreed to pay $133,500 in fines, a record amount for a lobbyist violating the state Political Reform Act.

"The firm regrets and takes responsibility for the administrative fines announced by the FPPC earlier today. We realize we failed in our obligations to be as vigilant as possible in complying with state political reform laws," Sloat said in a statement.

"Throughout this process, we have cooperated fully with the FPPC to address these mistakes," he said. "We take this matter seriously and have already put in place enhanced internal measures designed to prevent any future administrative violations."

Comments on the six-page agreement were not immediately available from some of the politicians who benefitted from the improper campaign contributions, including Gov. Jerry Brown, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom and legislative leaders.

Meanwhile, the FPPC also sent out some 40 warning letters to politicians Monday letting them know the case was being closed without penalties for those who received the nonmonetary contributions. The letters are all similar and talk about fundraisers hosted by Sloat in his home.

"On June 29, 2010, Mr. Sloat hosted a fundraiser at his house for the benefit of your campaign," FPPC Enforcement Chief Gary Winuk wrote to Sen. Lou Correa (D-Santa Ana). "At that fundraiser, he provided beverages to guests and may have provided floral arrangements and/or cigars for the event."

The items purchased by Sloat, "constituted non-monetary contributions to your campaign," that are "prohibited," Winuk wrote.

"However, Mr. Sloat did not inform you that he was providing this non-monetary contribution and, therefore, it appears that you were unaware that he provided it," Winuk added, saying "we are closing your case with this warning letter."

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