A state commission proposes thousands of dollars’ worth of fines be levied on CalPERS board members and officers who didn’t properly report gifts they got from investment firms.


By Marc Lifsher, Los Angeles Times
September 13, 2011

Reporting from Sacramento— Board members and officers of the long-troubled California Public Employees’ Retirement System, the nation’s largest pension fund, could be fined thousands of dollars for not properly reporting gifts received from investment firms.

The staff of California’s political ethics watchdog agency, the Fair Political Practices Commission, proposed the fines that will be considered by the full commission Sept. 22.

Though the proposed fines are relatively small, they were a sign that a 2-year-old influence-peddling and corruption scandal at CalPERS has yet to run its course.

The commission said Monday that most of the proposed fines were for not disclosing, as required by state law, the receipt of free meals and gifts, such as bottles of wine, Rose Bowl tickets, jackets and backpacks.

CalPERS, which covers 1.3 million government workers, retirees and their families, said it cooperated with the commission’s inquiry.

“We have strengthened our reporting policies and increased training to all staff required to file to ensure our complete compliance in the future,” CalPERS spokesman Brad Pacheco said.

By law, if state government employees receive gifts worth more than a combined $50 from a single source in a year, they must report all those gifts. The maximum total value of gifts allowed in a year from a single source is $420.

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