The San Diego County Democratic Party has agreed to pay fines totaling $6,000 for failing to report late contributions made to separate campaigns in 2012 and 2013, according to the California Fair Political Practices Commission.
The commission found that the local Democratic Party and treasurer Xavier Martinez failed to report five late contributions to Bob Filner’s campaign for San Diego mayor within 24 hours as required by law.
They also did not promptly disclose three late contributions to the San Diego City Council campaign of Mat Kostrinsky within the 24-hour period required in the run-up to the June 2012 primary election, the commission said.
The committee also failed to report receiving five late contributions on 24-hour reports it filed prior to the June 2012 primary election, the November 2012 general election and the special election in January 2013, the commission said.
“The public harm in this case is the public was denied the full information regarding SDCDP’s campaign activities in the run-up to several elections,” said the stipulation released Monday. “Although the Filner and Kostrinsky committees did disclose some of the contributions made by SDCDP, a voter that examined SDCDP’s campaign reports would not have seen these contributions reported…”
The county party’s chairwoman, Jessica Hayes, said via email, “After the loss of a key member of our accounting team for personal reasons in 2012, the party did not report several contributions within the required period of time. The FPPC acknowledged in its stipulation that it found no evidence of an attempt by the party to deceive and that the San Diego County Democratic Party properly filed more than 200 timely reports during the same election cycle. We have since redesigned our process, and we continue to support transparency and disclosure in campaign finance.”
In 2012, the San Diego County Democratic Party contributed more than $115,000 in cash and non-monetary contributions to the Filner mayoral campaign. The political party did not promptly disclose almost $22,000 of those donations, the commission said. All of the contributions were reported by the party later, when it filed a semi-annual campaign statement, the commission noted. Filner placed second in the June 2012 primary and went on to win the November run-off. He resigned in 2013 following a spate of sexual harassment allegations and pleaded guilty to a felony.
Kostrinsky received $54,000 from the San Diego County Democratic Party for his unsuccessful City Council campaign in June 2012, the commission said. Of that, the party failed to properly report $21,734 on time.
This story was updated at 3:37 p.m. to add a statement from the local Democratic party.