Politics, government and public life for Southern California

Ethics Commission fines Jose Huizar $10K for campaign missteps (updated)

Councilman Huizar

Corey Bridwell/KPCC

Councilman Huizar speaks to senior citizens from the 14th district.

L.A. City Councilman José Huizar was fined $10,500 Thursday for ethics violations related to his 2011 re-election campaign. 

The Ethics Commission found the Fourteenth District councilman accepted four contributions that exceeded the $500 cap that was in place at the time of the campaign. In two cases, the contributions came from individuals and their businesses. The other two contributions were from companies that had majority shareholders in common.

The Huizar campaign also failed to file three, mass e-mail communications as required by the Ethics Commission.

The Councilman's attorney, Stephen Kaufman, told commissioners: “Councilman Huizar accepts full responsibility for the actions of his committee and ultimately the buck stops with him but as you have identified, as with many, many other campaigns, the candidate relies upon professional staff, campaign staff to deal with compliance issues. We strive for perfection, but can’t always get it.”


Councilman Jose Huizar faces $10K fine for 2011 campaign

Jose Huizar

Jose Huizar

L.A. City Councilman Jose Huizar has agreed to pay a $10,500 fine for violations related to his 2011 reelection campaign.

Los Angeles City Councilman Jose Huizar faces a $10,500 fine from the city Ethics Commission for violations related to his 2011 reelection campaign.

Commissioners will vote on the recommended fine on Thursday. They accuse the councilman’s campaign of accepting four $500 contributions in excess of the $500-per-donor cap that was in place in 2011. In two instances, the contributions came from companies that shared ownership. In the other two cases, donations came from an individual and his business. 

The Huizar campaign is also accused of failing to send the Ethics Commission copies of three emails it sent to thousands of supporters. In a statement, the councilman said he would pay the $10,500 fine. 

"I take full responsibility for these infractions committed by my 2011 campaign," Huizar said in a statement. "The excess contributions represent less than .05 percent of the total amount raised by my 2011 campaign, and my campaign mistakenly failed to file three out of 39 campaign communications with the commission.  While these errors were completely unintentional, they are nonetheless unacceptable."


LA City Hall changing way public dollars are given to political campaigns

Piles of cash

Photo by 401K via Flickr Creative Commons

Los Angeles City Council gave a preliminary OK to a proposal that would provide more public dollars to political campaigns. A final vote is expected next week.

A proposal that would provide more public dollars to local campaigns was given preliminary approval Wednesday by the Los Angeles City Council.

The move was welcomed by California Common Cause as a way to make smaller donors more powerful in major city elections. 

Currently, city council candidates who qualify for matching funds can have the first $250 of a donation matched dollar-for-dollar by the city. That means a donation of $250 effectively becomes a $500 donation. For citywide candidates, the first $500 of a donation are matchable. 

Under the proposal, which is expected to receive final approval next week, beginning in 2013 candidates would receive a two-to-one match on donations in a primary election and a four-to-one match in the general. 

Beginning in 2015, only those donations from Los Angeles residents will be eligible for matching funds. City council candidates would also be required to get 200 donations of $5 or more from within their district.