Today’s news developments of San Bernardino District Attorney Mike Ramos’ settlement of charges by the California Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) for failing to properly disclose a $10,000.00 payment from his campaign fund to his wife, by fine in the amount of $200 proves a point that Ramos and especially his consultant just can’t or refuse to comprehend.
Offenses for violating the Political Reform Act are treated as administrative violations and nothing more. The Ramos incident is a great example. The fine should have been no higher than $1,000.00 at the maximum. In this case $200 could be perceived a little low, but not enough to cry over.
All in all, the ending is appropriate and consistent with similar cases. Except one.
While Ramos’ paid consultant/spokesperson/sidekick focuses on defending Ramos’ failing to report issue, the one glaring aspect that seems to be finally hitting home today with not just readers of iePolitics, but the local newspapers as well, is the fact Ramos charged a political adversary with ten felony counts carrying a maximum penalty of eleven years in state prison for pretty much the same thing.
The result from Ramos’ decision is now a prosecution case that has turned into a personal and political nightmare for the DA, and one that has placed him in a corner that he can’t extract himself from. The buck stops with Ramos and the responsibility rests on his shoulders.
Just last month San Bernardino City Attorney Jim Penman was slapped with a $5,000.00 fine by the FPPC for failing to report a free membership at the private Arrowhead Country Club in San Bernardino. The value of the membership is in the thousands. Penman failed to report the gift two years in a row. The omission was not an accident. The fine Penman received was the maximum allowed by law.
Did Ramos rush to charge City Attorney Penman? No.
Cute statements about the Ramos fine by Mr. Ellis such as “It’s about a third of what a red light ticket cost,” said Dave Ellis, Ramos’s campaign consultant, of Ramos’s fine. or “David Ellis, Ramos’ campaign consultant, said the state watchdog agency offered a proposed settlement” exemplify the political tactics used in deflection of the matter at hand.
The state watchdog agency offered the settlement? Interesting…..
No doubt Attorney General Brown (Wanna be Governor) gave a hand to the incoming president of the California District Attorney’s Association (CDAA). After all the CDAA endorsement could be helpful. Right Mr. Attorney General?
Most settlements take months or even years to resolve. This one took about a month.
The one major mistake by Ramos and his campaign sidekick is now the incident has now created a contrast from which residents and voters can plainly see.
Are not Ramos and Penman licensed attorneys? Even they couldn’t get it straight.