A major allegation contained in the recent announcement of charges in the “windshield crack-like” corruption investigation into San Bernardino County government by District Attorney Mike Ramos and Attorney General Edmund “Jerry” Brown has some interesting twists.

Ramos earlier this week announced a series of reforms necessary to put the power of the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors in check.

Strangely enough, one of the proposed reforms didn’t involve a measure to curb abuse in the expenditure of campaign funds.

One of the major cornerstones of the instant corruption case is the theory of bribes being paid as campaign donations to Political Action Committee’s, which are later diverted for use by officials in the form of payment of personal expenses like food, drinks, and travel.

You know what they say about throwing rocks from glass houses?

It seems not only did Ramos pay his wife $21,000 from his campaign funds over the last two years, he also did some heavy dipping into his campaign war-chest for apparently a myriad of expenses.

As a side note, effective January 1, 2010 it is now illegal to pay a spouse campaign funds.

The obvious problem here? We just can’t see what the expenses are for.

State law requires payment of $100.00 or more to the same vendor be itemized so the public can see where and what funds are being expended on.

Campaign finance records filed by Ramos with the San Bernardino County Registrar of Voters for the period of July 1, 2009 through December 31, 2009 indicate a significant amount of credit card charges paid by campaign funds.

Page 18 of the 28-page report revealed a single payment of $173.70 to “American Express” and a single payment of $12,478.33 to “Bankcard Center First California Bank” for a total of $12,652.03 in six months.

The payment entries entries state “No credit card payees over $100”.


Click on image to enlarge.

Were the First California Bank charges all incurred in one single month? The report makes it appear that way. Each individual monthly payment should be a separate entry.

Did Ramos initiate upwards of more than 130 separate charges on his credit cards for campaign-related expenses in a one-month period or six-month period?

Was Ramos’ intention to deliberately keep all of his charges under $100.00 to prevent itemization and public disclosure?

Where these campaign-related expenses for food, flowers, hotel/motels, or alcoholic beverages?

Airfare is likely out. Ramos most probably accrues frequent flyer credits on Southwest Airlines from government travel and uses the credits for personal travel.

So let’s now apply the new found criminal law interpretation improvised by the District Attorney.

Which contributor might have received a “financial” or “legal filing decision” benefit from Ramos’ position and influence, and in exchange for such benefit, may have given Ramos campaign funds?

Maybe the criminal defense conflict panel? San Manuel Band of Mission Indians? Lewis Group of Companies? etc….

Could Ramos in turn have used such funds for personal expenses under the guise of campaign expenses?

How about payments to his wife, which is in essence household income beneficial to Ramos himself?

Did a portion of the campaign contribution by the criminal defense conflict panel firm go to Ramos’ wife?

Hm mm…. Looks like the Fair Political Practices Commission, the state’s campaign finance watchdog needs to look at Ramos again.