Local Election

State Center trustee may have to pay $66,000 penalty for violating campaign laws

Eric Payne
Eric Payne

A trustee for State Center Community College District is facing a potential fine of $66,000 from state regulators for campaign violations dating back to 2016.

Eric Payne, who represents District 2, said Tuesday that he is in contact with the state’s Fair Political Practices Commission: “We are working on resolving this issue and hopefully we can bring this to an end,” Payne said. “This is been ongoing for some time now.”

First elected to the board of trustees in 2012, Payne said the alleged violations stem from his 2016 re-election campaign.

The FPPC has accused Payne, as an individual, of multiple violations, including using campaign funds to buy clothing, failing to timely file and disclose sources of income and business positions and failing to timely file the Statement of Intention to be a Candidate before launching his bid for re-election.

FPPC investigators also looked into his campaign committee, of which Payne is treasurer. The FPPC found several alleged violations related to failing to timely file campaign statements and expenditure reports. The FPPC said Payne’s committee didn’t have supporting records for contributions received and expenditures made.

Combined, the violations amount to $66,000.

Agency officials will present the allegations against Payne at the FPPC’s May meeting in what is known as a Notice of Intent to Present Default Decision. The commission will then vote on the matter at its June meeting.

A default decision is triggered when the person being investigated does not respond to the FPPC violations. It’s the last course of action for the commission to take before issuing a default ruling. Once that happens, a person can be held liable for the penalty and that includes liens on property.