The Fair Political Practices Commission today rejected proposed fines for a Sacramento lobbyist and an Assembly chief of staff accused of separate financial reporting violations, saying the cases merited higher penalties.
Lobbyist Frank J. Molina, a former Assembly chief of staff, had agreed to pay a $30,000 fine for failing to report $840,000 in lobbying activities from 2007 through 2009. Clients at his firm, Strategic Solutions Advisors, include the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, the Soboba Band of Luiseño Indians, the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians, the Tule River Indian Tribe and Deloitte Consulting LLP, according to the FPPC.
Commissioners rejected the stipulated agreement Molina had reached with the enforcement arm of the agency, citing the amount of money and length of the violation as well as Molina's experience working in the Legislature, FPPC Executive Director Roman Porter said.
Commissioners also directed enforcement staff to seek a higher fine for Assembly aide Sean MacNeil, who had agreed to pay $2,000 for failing to report income he earned from the campaign committee of his former boss.
MacNeil, who was chief of staff to Democratic state Sen. Pat Wiggins, now works in the same capacity for Democratic Assemblyman Michael Allen, also of Santa Rosa. Porter said the commissioners indicated that MacNeil's two previous Political Reform Act violations should be taken into consideration and result in a higher fine.
In both cases, enforcement staff will attempt to negotiate a new settlement. If the respondents do not agree to a revised stipulated agreement, the matter will go to a hearing before an administrative law judge. Any fine proposed by the judge would also be subject to approval by the commission.
Commissioners approved fining Allen $3,000 for a violation of conflict-of-interest laws in his previous post as Santa Rosa planning commissioner.
Click here for the full list of enforcement actions taken by the commission today.