COMPTON — The son of Mayor Walter R. Tucker acknowledged this week that his father's most recent campaign finance statement--which listed $19,220 in payments to eight of the mayor's relatives--contained two errors.
Walter R. Tucker III, who is a lawyer, prepared the state-required campaign report on the mayor's behalf. The younger Tucker said "a clerical mistake" had occurred in listing $2,150 in payments to two videotape technicians. One of the technicians is the mayor's nephew.
The technicians had been hired to record a four- to five-hour testimonial dinner in February, at which the mayor raised most of the $42,125 he received in political donations during the first half of the year. Relatives of Tucker--his son, two daughters, a daughter-in-law, a brother-in-law, a sister-in-law and two nephews--received a variety of payments, most stemming from the production of the dinner.
The campaign statement, filed earlier this month, also reported that video technician Tony Dillard received $1,500 and that another $650 in video production payments went to Derek Tucker, one of the mayor's nephews.
In a Times article Sunday about payments to the family, however, Dillard said he received only $650 and that $150 of that went to the mayor's nephew. Dillard also said he was not aware that the nephew had received any additional money. The nephew could not be reached for comment.
Attorney Tucker agreed this week that Dillard received just $650 and that part of that went to the Tucker nephew. In a campaign statement amendment filed with the city clerk, Tucker reported that fact and also stated that the $1,500 payment actually went to the nephew. The $1,500 and $650 payments--listed on two consecutive lines--were "just kind of switched around," he said in a subsequent telephone interview.
"I prepared the statement; it's my error," he added.
State law requires campaign reports to be accurate and also that expenses paid from campaign funds--to relatives or anyone else--pay for legitimate activities that bear "a reasonable relationship" to political, legislative or government purposes.
The state Fair Political Practices Commission has the power to fine or recommend criminal prosecution against anyone who violates campaign reporting laws. But commission spokeswoman Sandy Michioku said her agency has never taken action "in instances where it was clearly a clerical error or an unintentional mistake."
With the $1,500 payment to Derek Tucker, plus the $150 he received from Dillard, Tucker relatives have received a total of $20,220, or 48% of the campaign contributions raised.