As reported here June 10, Democratic county supervisor Dave Roberts was more than a little tardy in reporting a contribution made last year on his behalf by the United Domestic Workers of America.
According to a disclosure statement Roberts filed May 22, the labor union provided $5000 “for use by [the] County of San Diego in support of [the] State of County address” back in June 2014.
The disclosure was made in the weeks following a series of Roberts staff bailouts in April amid a growing controversy over the way he ran his office.
California law requires that so-called behested payments made on behalf of elected officials be disclosed within 30 days of receipt.
"These payments are not considered campaign contributions or gifts, but are payments made at the 'behest' of elected officials to be used for legislative, governmental or charitable purposes," says the website of the California Fair Political Practices Commission.
There are no limits on the amounts of behests that an official may receive.
Political practices commission staffers finally dealt with the Roberts case June 18, when enforcement chief Galena West, named to her position the week before, issued him a warning letter.
"As you are aware, the Enforcement Division received an email from your office self-reporting a potential violation of the behested payment reporting provision of the Act," West wrote, not mentioning the date or the identity of the sender of the email.
After investigating the matter, the letter continued, "the Enforcement Division found that you, as a public official, requested that the [United Domestic Workers union] make a payment, at your behest, to the District 3 Special Events Fund for use at the State of the County address."
Said West, "The [union] subsequently agreed to make a payment of $5000 on June 25, 2014. Therefore, a behested payment, for which you had reporting obligations under the Act, was made on your behalf."
But, West concluded, Roberts's almost year-long disclosure lapse wasn't such a big deal, and let him off with a warning.
"Although this filing was not made within 30 days of the actual date of the payment, we determined that further enforcement action for the late filing of this report was not warranted since there was little public harm and you self-reported this violation."
Noted West, "The information in this matter will be retained and may be considered should an enforcement action become necessary based on newly discovered information or future conduct."
Elected officials soliciting cash for favored causes from those seeking assistance with governmental affairs has been on the upswing here of late.
The most prominent local case is that of Republican San Diego mayor Kevin Faulconer and a nonprofit group known as One San Diego that assists the mayor and his anti-poverty agenda by handing out money to neighborhood causes.
Following questions posed to San Diego Ethics Commission executive director Stacey Fulhorst in late February, Faulconer filed a a behesting disclosure on March 5 that revealed $30,000 in cash contributions to One San Diego said by the filing to be have been made between February 9 and March 2.
Donors included Mission Valley mega-developer Tom Sudberry, Belmont Park lease-holder Pacifica Enterprises, and Steve Black's Cisterra Development, which received a $91 million city real estate deal on January 26, about a week before its February 9 contribution of $5000 to the Faulconer-related nonprofit.