Wednesday, April 14, 2004
California's Lt. Governor Cruz Bustamonte has agreed to pay a fine of $263,000 for violating campaign finance laws during his campaign during the recall of Governor Gray Davis. As noted here in the Jan. 10 Daily Post, Bustamonte had taken contributions that were way over the allowable amounts by funneling them into a ballot committee campaign instead of his campaign for Governor.
The California Fair Political Practices Commission smelled a rat, and belatedly went after Bustamonte. While the fine he agreed to pay was a record amount, he could have been liable for up to $9 million and he's allowed to pay the fine with money he raises from special interests. That's not much of a deterrent for breaking the law, but on the other hand his gross reliance on big contributors was one of the issues that hurt Bustamonte during the election (which he lost to Arnold Schwarzenegger) so in that aspect the voters have already punished him. As noted in the January 27 Daily post, Schwarzenegger too has been busted for breaking campaign finance rules during the campaign. Clearly California needs to get its act together to clarify things for future elections. Details can be found here in the San Diego Union Tribune.