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Legislator Is Fined $61,000 for Campaign Violations

September 01, 2004|From Associated Press

SACRAMENTO — State Sen. Mike Machado has agreed to pay a $61,000 fine and return $56,200 in contributions to settle a lawsuit filed by California's campaign finance watchdog.

The Fair Political Practices Commission said Tuesday that the Democrat from Linden, a small town east of Stockton, violated campaign contribution limits and reporting requirements by raising money for this year's reelection campaign through an old political campaign committee that wasn't subject to the limits.

"The Machado campaign has done some things that put it in violation of the Political Reform Act," said Steven Russo, the FPPC's enforcement chief. "But they have been cooperative with us in seeing that the violations are corrected, particularly by returning the contributions that violated the limits, and they are now paying a significant fine as a penalty for what occurred."

The FPPC said Machado began raising money for this year's campaign in January 2001 but didn't establish a required campaign committee or bank account for that race until about nine months later.

In the meantime, Machado raised $235,657 for the 2004 race through his 2000 campaign committee, which wasn't covered by contribution limits adopted by voters in November 2000.

As a result, the senator received 20 donations totaling $56,200 that exceeded the contribution limits for the 2004 race, the FPPC said.

The settlement still needs court approval.

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