The Fair Political Practices Commission is hearing the case against lobbyist Frank Molina for the second time next week because his lawyer missed the last hearing while serving jury duty.
Molina's case first went to the commission back in February. The commission's enforcement wing alleged that between 2007 and 2009, Molina had been paid $840,000 as a lobbyist for several Indian tribes and the Deloitte Consulting firm -- but never reported the income. State law requires lobbyists to file quarterly reports disclosing their clients, income and issues lobbied.
FPPC staff recommended that the commission fine Molina $30,000 -- or $2,500 for each of the 12 quarterly reports he failed to file as the sole lobbyist at Strategic Solutions Advisors, which he opened after working in the Legislature for several years. But at the meeting in February, commissioners rejected the $30,000 fine and instead said Molina deserved a stiffer penalty. His violations carry a maximum penalty of $60,000. According to an FPPC memo, commissioners asked staff to seek a $50,000 fine.
Problem was, Molina never got the chance to defend himself before the commission because his attorney was serving jury duty instead of attending the hearing.
"I did not expect this would present a problem since in my experience it is rare that enforcement matters are pulled from the consent calendar and even rarer that the proposed stipulation is not approved," Molina's lawyer, Lance Olson, wrote in a letter to the FPPC in April.
Olson requested that Molina's case be heard again so that he can address the commission. That hearing is scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 22, at 10 a.m. The commission will reconsider the original proposal of a $30,000 fine against Molina.