Two Calif. state lawmakers fined for campaign violations

Reginald Jones-Sawyer
Lobbyists hand Assemblyman Reggie Jones-Sawyer, D-Los Angeles, center, information about legislation they are concerned about as he enters the Assembly chambers last year.
(Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)

California Assembly members Reggie Jones-Sawyer (D-Los Angeles) and Shannon Grove (R-Bakersfield)  have agreed to pay fines of $10,000 and $2,000, respectively, for violating campaign finance laws, according to documents released Monday by the state Fair Political Practices Commission.

Sawyer ran successfully for election to the Assembly in 2012 and admits he accepted an over-the-limit campaign contribution from a friend, Maria Ann Chachere, in the form of a $50,000 loan. The limit for campaign contributions was $3,900 at the time of the transaction.

He also admitted that he misreported the loan from the Wells Fargo vice president as a loan from himself to his own committee after having his friend make the check out to him personally.

The stipulation signed by the FPPC enforcement staff and Sawyer acknowledges that he twice violated the Political Reform Act and would pay $10,000 in fines.


“Accepting over-the-limit contributions is a serious violation of the Act — even more so when the violation is concealed by false campaign reporting,” the enforcement staff wrote. “These types of violations give an unfair advantage to one side in an election, and they deprive the public of important information about the true source of campaign contributions.”

Grove agreed to pay $2,000 in fines for failing to file online campaign reports disclosing that her 2012 Assembly campaign received 11 contributions of $5,000 or more from various individuals, totaling $77,400.

Also, former gubernatorial candidate Tim Donnelly’s California Patriots PAC has agreed to pay a $200 fine for late filing of a campaign finance report.

The agency also released an agreement in which Dan Schnur, the former commission chairman,  agreed to pay a $200 fine for not properly reporting about $1,000 in travel expenses for a speech he gave a year before he ran for secretary of state this year. Schnur said he had properly reported seven  other travel payments for speeches but that it was “totally appropriate” that he be fined for the one he missed reporting.




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