EMERYVILLE — UPDATE: This story is being updated to correct incorrect information provided by the Fair Political Practices Commission.
Vice Mayor Ken Bukowski could be charged $15,500 in fines for several campaign fund violations, including using donations to pay for his personal bills, officials said Monday.
During the 2003 campaign, Bukowski's re-election committee wrote checks made out to Bukowski personally that totaled almost $2,300, and another $1,340 in checks were made out to "cash," according to the Fair Political Practices Commission. An FPPC investigation found he had committed 11 violations of the Political Reform Act of 1974, FPPC Executive Director Roman Porter said.
As part of an agreement awaiting final approval, Bukowski paid the fines after an FPPC investigation found he had committed 11 violations of the Political Reform Act of 1974, FPPC Executive Director Roman Porter said.
"This is an administrative penalty by our commission," Porter said. "I would also note, any violation of the Political Reform Act is punishable as a misdemeanor, but that would require investigation and subsequent prosecution by a district attorney or the attorney general. Those powers don't lie with our agency."
However, those prosecutions are rare, according to the man who wrote the Political Reform Act.
"The DA is usually dealing with murderers and burglars, and they leave the white collar stuff like this to the FPPC," said Bob Stern, who is now president of the nonprofit Center for Governmental Studies in Santa Monica.
In addition to the personal checks, Bukowski failed to file four consecutive campaign statements or keep records necessary to make those statements and failed to file a statement of economic interest that would warn of any personal investments that could become a conflict of interest, the agreement states.
The case arose out of a referral to the FPPC from the Emeryville City Clerk, documents show.
Bukowski was unavailable for comment Monday afternoon.