Supervisor John Benoit

By PE Politics
on February 1, 2010 10:36 AM

The late Roy Wilson gave John Benoit $200,000 toward a possible run for supervisor, the same day Wilson resigned from the Riverside County Board of Supervisors and just five days before his death, new campaign finance documents show.

Citing a sudden decline in health, Wilson, 74, resigned from his position on Aug. 21 and died Aug. 26. At the time, Wilson had amassed a political war chest of more than $600,000 for a possible re-election bid this year.

When he resigned, Wilson endorsed then-state Sen. John Benoit, R-Bermuda Dunes, as a successor. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger appointed Benoit to the Board of Supervisors in November and he took office Dec. 1.

The $200,000 is listed on Wilson’s campaign finance documents as a loan to Benoit’s supervisor campaign on Aug. 21. Benoit’s campaign finance documents list the $200,000 as a contribution. Benoit’s paperwork forming a campaign committee for supervisor is dated Aug. 24.

UPDATE: Benoit treasurer David Bauer said by e-mail this afternoon that listing the $200,000 from the Wilson campaign as a contribution was a mistake.

“Our classification of the $200,000 from Wilson campaign was in error and an amendment has been filed,” Bauer said. “It is a loan.”

The amended documents, filed with the registrar of voters later on Monday, now list the money as a loan.

Bauer also said the documents forming a campaign must be filed before soliciting contributions. In the case of the loan, Benoit did not solicit the money and the proper paperwork was filed as soon as he became aware of it, Bauer said.

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