Janet Nguyen disputes grand jury report

The state ethics agency is investigating whether some supporters of Sen. Janet Nguyen’s 2012 campaign for Orange County Supervisor were improperly reimbursed by others for their contributions. (Marc Martin / Los Angeles Times)

By Patrick McGreevy
December 5, 2014

A Superior Court judge on Friday ruled that the state’s ethics agency could subpoena financial records as part of an investigation into possible political money laundering involving 11 supporters of newly elected state Sen. Janet Nguyen (R-Garden Grove).

Judge David A. Hoffer denied a motion by the supporters to quash the subpoenas issued by the state Fair Political Practices Commission for financial records of the contributors, according to Jay Wierenga, a spokesman for the state agency.

“The court ruled that our subpoenas are valid and enforceable and those involved are going to have to give us what we are asking for,” Wierenga said.

But the battle may not be over.

“I will have to consult with my clients, but it would be my recommendation to challenge this decision on appeal,” said James M. Crawford, an attorney for the 11 people hit with subpoenas.

The case stems from an investigation by the FPPC into whether some contributors to Nguyen’s 2012 campaign for Orange County supervisor were improperly reimbursed by others, hiding the true source of her financial backing, according to court filings.

“The evidence uncovered thus far provides sufficient grounds to support the subpoenas and shows that contributors were reimbursed for contributions to the Friends of Supervisor Janet Nguyen campaign committee,” according to a Nov. 14 court filing by FPPC Counsel Galena West.

The commission’s investigators have obtained records showing eight people illegally received reimbursements for their contributions “and during interviews conducted, six individuals have admitted to receiving reimbursements, which constitutes illegal campaign money laundering,” the state agency’s filing says.

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