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Lobbyist Kevin Sloat has set a new record in California, agreeing to pay the state a fine of $133,500 -- the largest ever for violating state laws that regulate lobbyists.

Sloat's agreement with staff of the Fair Political Practices Commission says he acknowledges hosting numerous political fundraisers that counted as prohibited campaign contributions, and arranging and giving gifts to California lawmakers in violation of state law. The state's Political Reform Act prohibits lobbyists from giving campaign contributions to officials they are registered to lobby, and limits gifts they can give to $10 a month.

"Contributions and gifts from lobbyists may influence an official to make decisions based on the interest of the lobbyist's clients, instead of, and potentially in conflict with, the interests of the public whom the official represents," says the negotiated settlement between Sloat and the FPPC, which became public today.

Sloat, who lobbies for the San Francisco 49ers among other clients, arranged more than $600 worth of 49er tickets for former Republican Assemblyman Jeff Miller of Corona and for Debra Gravert, chief of staff to Democratic Assemblyman Jim Frazier of Oakley, according to the agreement.

He also arranged for Sen. Jim Nielsen, R-Gerber, to receive $420 worth of tickets to an NBA basketball game featuring the Sacramento Kings and Los Angeles Lakers, the agreement says. Sloat acknowledged that his firm, Sloat Higgins Jensen and Associates, bought a $52.36 lunch at the Esquire Grill for Joe Coto when he was a Democratic member of the state Assembly from San Jose.

The settlement lists 26 fundraising parties Sloat held for California candidates at his home in Sacramento between 2009 and 2012. The events benefited 37 current and former elected officials and political candidates, including the most powerful in California: Democrats Gov. Jerry Brown, Senate President pro Tem Darrell Steinberg and Assembly Speaker John A. Perez; and Republican leaders Sen. Bob Huff and Assemblywoman Connie Conway. He also held fundraisers for Democratic Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom and Republican gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman, the agreement says.

While state law allows lobbyists to host political fundraisers at their homes and offices, it limits the total cost of permissible events to $500. Sloat's settlement with the FPPC says he thought he was following the law by limiting his own expenditures for wine, liquor and cigars to $500. But the rule concerns the total cost of the event -- not only what the lobbyist spent -- and with catering, floral arrangements and other expenses, the events at Sloat's house exceeded the $500 limit.

Sloat issued a prepared statement on behalf of his firm, Sloat Higgins Jensen and Associates, saying it had "failed in our obligations to be as vigilant as possible in complying with state political reform laws."

"We take this matter seriously and have already put in place enhanced internal measures designed to prevent any future administrative violations. We regret these mistakes and look forward to developing the best compliance standards in the business," Sloat's statement says.

The Fair Political Practices Commission is scheduled to vote on the proposed fine at its meeting on Feb. 20.


Here is a full list of the politicians receiving warning letters from the FPPC for holding campaign events at Sloat's house:

Statewide officers and candidates:

Gov. Jerry Brown
Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom
Gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman

Current legislators:

Senate President pro Tem Darrell Steinberg
Sen. Marty Block
Sen. Lou Correa
Sen. Kevin de Leon
Sen. Cathleen Galgiani
Sen. Jerry Hill
Sen. Ben Hueso
Sen. Bob Huff
Sen. Ted Lieu
Sen. Alex Padilla
Sen. Norma Torres
Sen. Rod Wright

Assembly Speaker John A. Perez
Assemblywoman Toni Atkins
Assemblywoman Connie Conway
Assemblyman Paul Fong
Assemblyman Mike Gatto
Assemblyman Isadore Hall
Assemblyman Roger Hernandez
Assemblyman Richard Pan
Assemblyman Henry Perea
Assemblyman V. Manuel Perez

Former legislators:

Sen. Gil Cedillo
Sen. Michael Rubio
Sen. Gloria Negrete-McLeod
Sen. Juan Vargas

Assemblywoman Karen Bass
Assemblyman Bob Blumenfield
Assemblyman Charles Calderon
Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi
Assemblywoman Alyson Huber
Assemblyman Jeff Miller
Assembyman Jose Solorio

Former Assembly candidate

Garrett Yee

PHOTO: Gov. Jerry Brown with the four leaders of the California Legislature: Democratic Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, Republican Senate leader Bob Huff, Democratic Assembly Speaker John A. Perez and Assembly Republican Leader Connie Conway shown in the Capitol in September 2013. The Sacramento Bee/Hector Amezcua



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