Political Notebook

Top Democrat says Olivier violated state campaign finance laws

Fresno City Councilman Clint Olivier is facing allegations that he didn’t report some expenditures last year for his Assembly campaign, and also illegally used his council money for Assembly campaign events. A complaint was filed with the state’s Fair Political Practices Commission by Michael Evans, chair of the Fresno County Democratic Party.
Fresno City Councilman Clint Olivier is facing allegations that he didn’t report some expenditures last year for his Assembly campaign, and also illegally used his council money for Assembly campaign events. A complaint was filed with the state’s Fair Political Practices Commission by Michael Evans, chair of the Fresno County Democratic Party.

Michael Evans, chair of the Fresno County Democratic Central Committee, has filed a complaint with the state’s political watchdog, claiming that Republican state Assembly candidate Clint Olivier’s campaign has violated campaign finance laws.

A letter from Evans to the state’s Fair Political Practices Commission, also known as the FPPC, alleges Olivier’s campaign didn’t fully report all expenditures on its campaign statements for the reporting period that ended June 30 and December 31 of last year.

Evans also alleges that Olivier, currently a Fresno City Council member, may have illegally spent money on his Assembly campaign using money from his now inactive city council account. The letter says that Olivier cannot seek another council term, but his council account “spent considerably more than did his Assembly campaign in 2015.”

We are asking the FPPC to open an investigation into these activities and expenditures.

Michael Evans, chair of the Fresno County Democratic Party Central Committee, in a letter to the state’s political watchdog

“We are asking the FPPC to open an investigation into these activities and expenditures,” Evans’ letter says.

Olivier, currently in his second term on the Fresno City Council, is running for the 31st Assembly seat that became vacant when Fresno Democrat Henry T. Perea resigned to take a private-sector job. Because Perea would have reached his term limit at the end of this year, Olivier last summer said he would seek the seat. But when Perea resigned early in December, it forced an April 5 special election to fill the remainder of Perea’s current term.

Olivier is running both to fill Perea’s unexpired term, and also for the full two-year term that will start this December. Also running are Kingsburg Democrat Joaquin Arambula and Caruthers Democrat Ted Miller.

Tim Orman, Olivier’s campaign consultant, said the Olivier campaign would had no comment on the allegations.

Some of Evans’ specific allegations are:

▪  Last June, Olivier held an event to announce his Assembly candidacy. Pictures of the event show attendees holding campaign signs, but there are no matching expenditures listed on the June 30 finance report.

▪  In November, Olivier held a fundraiser at Pardini’s. According to Pardini’s, Evans wrote, the minimum to reserve a private room for a dinner is more than $2,100, and Olivier’s December 31 report does not list the Pardini’s event.

▪  Olivier’s City Council campaign reported it spent $16,579 in 2015, but Olivier did not have an active council campaign at the time. Among those expenses are $8,548 to DirectFile for online political accounting and disclosure services and $5,264 in unitemized payments to Olivier’s wife, Alisha.

▪  During the second half of last year, when Olivier was campaigning for the Assembly and not city council, his council account spent more than three times the amount of the Assembly committee – $9,856 vs. $3,227.

“These unexplained issues raise the question of whether Olivier’s committees have violated the California Political Reform Act,” Evans’ letter concluded.

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