A major contributor to slow-growth political campaigns in Monterey County has agreed to pay a $1,350 state fine for missing a reporting deadline.
The North Salinas Valley Fund for Responsible Growth, a nonprofit group staked by a $600,000 legal settlement in 2008 against the county and developer of the controversial Rancho San Juan project, was assessed the penalty by the Fair Political Practices Commission.
"We missed a filing deadline, and we were informed that a complaint had been lodged," said fund board member Julie Engell on Wednesday. "As soon as it was brought to our attention, we filled out the forms and sent them in the next day."
The group's role as a major contributor in local politics stood out in this fall's contest between county Supervisor Dave Potter and challenger Marc Del Piero in the 5th District. The group contributed more than $132,000 to Del Piero's ultimately unsuccessful bid to oust Potter from the seat.
Construction trades leader Ron Chesshire, who protested the amount of money Del Piero received from the North Salinas Valley fund, filed the complaint that brought the FPPC fine, Engell said.
The agency said the group failed to report three March20 contributions on its semi-annual report as a major contributor. Those were $45,000 for Del Piero's supervisor campaign, $35,000 to Supervisor Jane Parker's campaign and $15,000 to Ed Mitchell's supervisor campaign.
"We were not trying to hide anything," Engell said. "If anything,
The FPPC is scheduled to formally approve the agreement and fine at its Dec. 13 meeting in San Diego.
Chesshire said he hadn't heard from the state agency, but reasoned the penalty would make the group "a little more transparent."
He said he would continue to seek a Monterey County measure to limit direct contributions to political campaigns. There is a $3,900 limit on direct contributions to state races, but none on county races, Chesshire said.