The state agency overseeing campaign finance rules in California says Republican Tim Donnelly has failed for more than a year to file campaign finance statements for a political action committee he formed in 2012.
The Fair Political Practices Commission said Friday it has opened an investigation into the California Patriots PAC, a small fund whose stated purpose is to "support conservative candidates for public office throughout the state of California."
The investigation follows an inquiry letter the FPPC sent Donnelly, a gubernatorial candidate and Twin Peaks assemblyman, late last month. The letter, provided to The Bee in response to a California Public Records Act request, said the committee failed to file required campaign statements since October 2012.
At the time the FPPC wrote Donnelly, Donnelly's campaign said it had filed the statements and did not know why they did not appear on the Secretary of State's website, while the Secretary of State's office said it had not received the filings.
Donnelly's campaign said Friday that copies of the documents were re-sent Thursday. It provided copies of the filings to The Bee, which showed $18,470 in committee expenditures in 2012, including $8,783 for a mailer opposing West Covina Democrat Roger Hernandez's successful state Assembly campaign. The committee had $411 in cash on hand at the end of 2014.
In documents filed by recipients of the committee's money, the California Patriots PAC appears to have spent little since its formation, giving $3,947 to three unsuccessful Republican candidates for Assembly in 2012. The contributions reported by candidates include a non-monetary contribution of a banner worth $2,447 to Donna Lowe, who lost to Chris Holden, D-Pasadena. The committee gave $1,000 to Craig Huey's race in Los Angeles County, and $500 to JD Bennett's campaign in the Central Valley.
Gary Winuk, the FPPC's chief of enforcement, said a failure to file campaign statements runs counter to "the whole point of disclosure."
PHOTO: Republican gubernatorial candidate Tim Donnelly visits the Outdoor Sportsman store in Stockton on Feb. 11, 2014. The Sacramento Bee/David Siders