Brown warned by political watchdog

Chris Rizo Jul. 21, 2008, 12:01am

Jerry Brown (D)

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (Legal Newsline)-California Attorney General Jerry Brown has avoided being fined for violations of campaign finance laws, a published report said Monday.

Rather than being fined by the Fair Political Practices Commission, the Democratic attorney general and other state officials who committed campaign finance flubs have instead received warning letters, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Since last year, FPPC head Ross Johnson, a former Republican state senator, has shifted the agency's focus to pursuing serious scofflaws rather than chasing small violations, the newspaper said.

Brown's campaign committee received a warning letter for failing to disclose details of payments to subcontractors working for his campaign.

FPPC warning letters were also sent to campaign committees for Senate Minority Leader Dave Cogdill, R-Modesto, and Senate President Pro Tem-elect Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, among others.

Some critics say the policy shift was a move to curry favor with state Legislators who draft the state budget. Johnson disputed the claims.

"The purpose very simply was to clear the decks so we could concentrate on the worst offenders, those who deliberately chose to break the law," Johnson was quoted by the newspaper as saying.

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