Vasquez faces $4K ethics fine

DOWNEY -- Councilman Fernando Vasquez is facing a $4,000 fine from a state ethics committee this month after his 2010 City Council campaign allegedly failed to report more than a dozen campaign contributions prior to state-mandated deadlines.The California Fair Political Practices Commission will consider the fine during its general meeting on March 15 in Sacramento. While Vasquez has acknowledged the violations, he maintains the discrepancies were mistakes due to a misinterpretation of campaign finance regulations. According to the FPPC, Vasquez and his campaign treasurer, Jane Leiderman, failed to report eight monetary contributions, totaling $1,600, which he received between July 1, 2010 and Sept. 30, 2010 that were due by Oct. 5, 2010. Between Oct. 1-16, 2010, Vasquez's campaign also failed to timely report nine contributions received, totaling nearly $6,100 that were due by Oct. 21, according to the FPPC's report. In the months following the 2010 election, the Vasquez campaign amended the two previous financial reports adding the monetary donations, which were previously unaccounted for. The added contributions included donations from several local businesses and individuals including CalMet Services Inc., Coca Cola Enterprises Inc., Rio Hondo Event Center, Tacos El Gavilan Inc., and George Kirkorian, CEO of Kirkorian Premiere Theatres. "There was a mistake made when campaign contributions were publicly reported on the date they were deposited into the campaign account instead of the date they were actually received," said Vasquez in a written statement on Wednesday. "As soon as we realized this mistake, I worked with my campaign committee treasurer to correct it, and file amended campaign reports." According to the FPPC, this isn't the first time Leiderman has failed to accurately document and report campaign contributions for candidates. In 2010, Leiderman also violated FPPC rules while representing state Senator Alan Lowenthal of Long Beach and Assemblyman Mike Gatto of Los Angeles by improperly using campaign funds and failing to file campaign statements. "My campaign fully cooperated with the FPPC's review, which made clear that I did not intentionally violate the law," said Vasquez. "Nonetheless, at the end of the day, it was my campaign and I take responsibility for any mistake made. The penalty has been paid, and I consider this matter over." Vasquez won election to the Downey City Council in 2010, defeating Alex Saab and Lee Ann Sears. --Reporting by city editor Eric Pierce and staff writer Christian Brown

********** Published: March 08, 2012 - Volume 10 - Issue 47