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FPPC warns political group

Firefighters Assn. did not disclose that mailers were not paid for by candidates. Future violations could lead to a $5,000 fine.

December 31, 2010|By Joseph Serna, joseph.serna@latimes.com

The California Fair Political Practices Commission has opted to warn, not fine, a Newport Beach political action committee that didn't disclose its City Council candidate mailers were not paid for by the candidates.

In a letter published on the FPPC website last week, the commission told the Newport Beach Firefighters Assn. Political Action Committee that future violations could lead to a $5,000 fine per violation.

Leading up to the November elections, the association sent out mailers endorsing incumbent Councilwoman Leslie Daigle and candidate Rush Hill, both of whom have since been sworn in.

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State codes require a political action committee to disclose on its campaign literature that they are independent expenditures not paid for by the candidates. It's a new law that Firefighters Assn. President Brian McDonough said he hadn't noticed, and the FPPC agreed.

"The FPPC has decided not to pursue an enforcement action at this time, in part because of the nature of the violation and the committee's cooperation with the FPPC," an FPPC panel wrote. "Also, it appears that the committee may not have been aware of the current state of the law."

"It's not going to happen again," McDonough said earlier this month.

This was one of two investigations the FPPC launched related to the Newport Beach City Council elections. The organization continues to look into a similar violation by the city's Chamber of Commerce. The chamber also failed to disclose how much it cost to print its endorsement mailers, according to a complaint filed with the FPPC by local political activist Bob Rush.

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