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Ward Gets $13,000 Fine in Campaign Fund Violation

January 11, 1990|MARK GLADSTONE | TIMES STAFF WRITER

SACRAMENTO — The Fair Political Practices Commission on Tuesday unanimously agreed to fine Bellflower school board member Larry Ward $13,000 for campaign reporting violations arising from his unsuccessful 1986 campaign for the Assembly.

According to documents prepared by the commission staff, Ward violated the Political Reform Act by reporting two $10,000 campaign contributions even though he "knew or had reason to know that there was no actual monetary contribution to him or his committee . . ."

The commission staff had recommended that the five-member panel accept the settlement with Ward, a member of the Bellflower Unified School District board since 1977.

In an interview, Ward, 47, of Lakewood, acknowledged making a mistake but denied doing "anything intentionally . . . to mislead the voters." Ward described the $13,000 fine as excessive, saying that $4,000 "would have been fair." The fine was $1,000 short of the maximum the commission could impose.

Ward said the central issue in the case revolved around the way he reported campaign donations from Ingram Industries of Bellflower as cash contributions. He should have listed them as in-kind donations of office space, printing, telephones and other services to help run the campaign, Ward said. "We did it wrong and we should be fined," Ward acknowledged.

Last May, the commission rejected a proposed $9,000 settlement in the case because of concerns that the amount was too low considering the nature of Ward's violations.

The violations stem for a bitter 1986 Democratic primary in which Ward was one of nine candidates seeking the seat of retiring Assemblyman Frank Vicencia (D-Bellflower). The primary was won by Edward Waters, who lost the general election.

Ward said he plans to pay the entire fine, even though his volunteer campaign treasurer, Christine Hinton, was cited for having improperly labeled campaign statements. "She only followed my direction," Ward said.

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