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Former state Sen. Dean Florez has closed his 2014 campaign committee for state controller after paying off a $60,000 fine for misusing campaign funds, the largest such penalty in state history.

Although California law allows politicians to tap political donations to pay fines imposed by the state's campaign-finance watchdog, Florez paid $50,500 out of his own pocket. About $9,500 was money remaining in his controller's committee, according to a filing Friday afternoon.

The $60,000 fine came after Florez admitting spending $26,542 from committees he established to run for lieutenant governor and state controller on trips, meals and entertainment. He also failed to refund $247,000 in contributions.

The commission approved the fine at its Nov. 14 meeting.

Friday's filing with the secretary of state's office shows that Florez had $9,529 in the committee as of July 1. He paid the account $40,500 for "reimbursement" on Oct. 25, when he also made a $50,000 payment to "the general fund of the state of California," the filing shows.

Florez paid another $10,000 directly to the state to settle the fine.

PHOTO: Former state Sen. Dean Florez, D-Shafter, left, in a 2010 committee hearing. Associated Press/ Rich Pedroncelli


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