Susan Luzzaro 9 p.m., Aug. 20
When a $900 campaign contribution ends up costing $10,000
Supporter of Chula Vista Councilman Steve Castaneda fined for illegal contributions
Some serious cash has been thrown down during this past election cycle. For one Chula Vista resident, her $900 in campaign contributions to city councilmember Steve Castaneda may end up being closer to $11,000 if the California's Fair and Political Practices Commission has their say.
At a December 13 hearing scheduled at the San Diego County Administration building, commissioners will consider slapping Ana Gonzalez Ibarra with a $10,000 fine for making two $300 contributions to councilmember Castaneda under other names.
The illegal contributions occurred weeks before the June primary election between Castaneda, Southwestern College trustee Jorge Dominguez, and Chula Vista's incumbent mayor Cheryl Cox.
According to a stipulation filed by the Fair and Political Practices Commission, Ibarra convinced two of her coworkers to give Castaneda $300 a piece under their names. Ibarra then reimbursed the two women the full amount.
"Making a contribution in another person’s name is one of the most serious types of violations of the Act, because it denies the public of information about where a candidate receives his or her financial support," reads the stipulation. "At the time of the violations, the City of Chula Vista had a city ordinance that imposed a $300 limit on individual campaign contributions to candidates for elected office. As such, Respondent was prohibited from giving more than $300 to a candidate in this jurisdiction."
Officials at the FPPC's Enforcement Division recommends the commission give Ibarra the maximum penalty of $5,000 for each offense.
The Enforcement Division did not find any evidence that the councilmember knew of the illegal contributions.
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