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Administrator’s Note: Former San Bernardino County Third District Supervisor Neil Derry must be shaking his head at this one. He was criminally prosecuted for a $5,000 contribution. In this $40,000 affair, the Fair Political Practices Commission is handling the entire matter. The elements missing from this equation? San Bernardino County District Attorney Michael Ramos and Former Senior Assistant Attorney General Gary Schons. Ramos and Schons, who now works for the San Diego County District Attorney after backing Steve Cooley for AG, reportedly became good drinking buddies.

By Patrick McGreevy, Los Angeles Times
December 14, 2012

SACRAMENTO — State authorities have accused two brothers who served together as Republican legislators of illegally laundering $40,000 in political donations.

State Sen. Tom Berryhill (R-Modesto) and former Assemblyman Bill Berryhill (R-Ceres), grape farmers who represented adjacent legislative districts, allegedly funneled the money through two county Republican central committees to skirt contribution limits.

An administrative law judge will decide whether the men are guilty of charges drafted by the state Fair Political Practices Commission.

The charges focus on the 2008 election, in which both brothers won Assembly races. State law limited the amount Tom Berryhill could contribute directly to his brother’s campaign to $3,600, but Bill Berryhill’s campaign needed extra help in a tight race, according to the accusation written by commission staff.

The contribution limits do not apply to money raised and spent by party central committees.

Tom Berryhill’s campaign allegedly used money from one of his fundraisers to donate $20,000 to the Stanislaus County Republican Central Committee and an equal sum to the San Joaquin County Republican Central Committee. Those two groups donated the same amounts to Bill Berryhill’s campaign on the day they received the money.

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