The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

August 2, 2011
FPPC begins closing CalPERS gift reporting investigation

The Fair Political Practices Commission has spared at least six current and former CalPERS officials from paying fines for failing to report gifts on official disclosure forms.

The FPPC opened an investigation earlier this year over allegations that 49 CalPERS board members and employees failed to accurately report gifts from lobbyists, contractors and other entities during the past five years. Six letters released last month are among the first results from the investigation. More findings are likely to be released over the next several weeks.

FPPC staff closes investigations by concluding there was no violation, advising an individual that he or she nearly committed a violation, issuing a warning that recognizes a violation was not worthy of a fine or asking the commission to approve a fine of up to $5,000 for each violation.

Jeffrey Baker, Ho Ho, Curtis Ishii, Bryan Karcher, Todd Lapenna and Warren Trepeta received warning letters, according to the FPPC website.

Baker wasn't fined because he has since left CalPERS, according to the letter sent to him. The other five were cleared because they filed amendments to their disclosure forms and none of them received gifts significantly above the $50 reporting threshold.

Board member J.J. Jelincic recently was cleared of wrongdoing because "two apparent 'gifts' of meals,clothes, and a suitcase" by an undisclosed entity were allowable under the entity's agreement with the pension system. Last month, CalPERS board of administration president Rob Feckner agreed to a pay a $400 fine.

A bill pending in the Legislature would bar board members and officials of CalPERS and CalSTRS from receiving gifts totaling more than $50 annually from a single contractor.

The unreported gifts:

Jeffrey Baker $58.68 meal and event from Goldman Sachs in 2006
Ho Ho $53.57 in 2007 (source not disclosed by FPPC)
Ho Ho $64.98 in 2009 (source not disclosed by FPPC)
Curtis Ishii $157 meal from Rogge Global Partners in 2006
Curtis Ishii $83 meal from Rogge Global Partners in 2006
Bryan Karcher $88.50 meal from Turner Investment in 2007
Todd Lapenna $70.09 meals from Blackstone in 2009
Warren Trepeta Just over $50 meal from Rogge Global Partners in 2006

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About The State Worker

Jon Ortiz The Author

Jon Ortiz launched The State Worker blog and a companion column in 2008 to cover state government from the perspective of California government employees. Every day he filters the news through a single question: "What does this mean for state workers?" Join Ortiz for updates and debate on state pay, benefits, pensions, contracts and jobs. Contact him at (916) 321-1043 and at jortiz@sacbee.com.

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