Bob Stern, a campaign finance expert and the FPPC’s first general counsel, from 1975 to 1983, said he was flabbergasted that Ramos was twice fined for the same violation. “Of all the people who should be complying with the law, it should be the D.A.,” Stern said. “If I were a commissioner, I would go back and say double the fine,” (Staff file photo by Rick Sforza)
By Joe Nelson, The Sun
Posted: 05/11/15 – 4:20 PM PDT |
For the third time in the last two election cycles, San Bernardino County District Attorney Michael A. Ramos has been fined by the state Fair Political Practices Commission for improper campaign reporting practices.
Ramos, who has served as the county’s top prosecutor for the past 13 years, paid the commission, under a stipulated agreement, a fine of $5,000 on April 16 for failing to file a pre-election campaign statement on time and for failing to itemize on campaign finance forms credit card charges of $100 or more and totaling $14,025, the FPPC announced Monday.
Ramos’ treasurer, Marvin Reiter, was also accused of the same violations, but the $5,000 fine covered both his and Ramos’ infractions, FPPC spokesman Jay Wierenga said.
“While this was an oversight by my campaign treasurer noted by the FPPC in their statement of findings, I take full responsibility. That’s why I paid the fine immediately, rather than contesting it,” Ramos said in a statement Monday.
Ramos is one of seven cases from San Bernardino County, with proposed fines totaling $18,650, to be heard by the five-member Fair Political Practices Commission at its May 21 meeting. The commission will also consider proposed fines of $6,000 against the Rancho Cucamonga Professional Firefighters Association IAFF Local 2274 PAC; $3,000 and $1,500 against San Bernardino County Sheriff candidates Clifton L. Harris and Paul Schrader, respectively; $1,500 against county supervisor candidate Randolph Beasley; $1,500 against district attorney candidate Grover Merritt; and $150 against county Auditor/Controller/Treasurer-Tax Collector Larry Walker. All proposed fines stem from the 2014 election cycle.
For Ramos, it is not the first time he has failed to ensure that his campaign credit card charges were properly documented. In 2011, he paid the FPPC a $2,500 fine for failing to itemize credit charges of $100 or more and totaling $8,619 on his 2010 campaign finance statements. Prior to paying the fine, Ramos said in a statement to the press that while his credit card payments were disclosed, his campaign “failed to take the required extra step to itemize the expenditures.”
Bob Stern, a campaign finance expert and the FPPC’s first general counsel, from 1975 to 1983, said he was flabbergasted that Ramos was twice fined for the same violation.
“Of all the people who should be complying with the law, it should be the D.A.,” Stern said. “If I were a commissioner, I would go back and say double the fine,”
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