Political Notebook

State’s political watchdog dings Madera County for missed filing

Fair Political Practices Commission Chair Jodi Remke, center, flanked by commissioners Patricia Wynne, left, and Eric Casher conduct business on Thursday, Nov. 20, 2014 in Sacramento.
Fair Political Practices Commission Chair Jodi Remke, center, flanked by commissioners Patricia Wynne, left, and Eric Casher conduct business on Thursday, Nov. 20, 2014 in Sacramento. rpench@sacbee.com

The state’s political watchdog has fined Madera County $425 because it failed to file a report detailing a $2,500 payment to its lobbyist.

At this point, the fine is technically a proposal from the state Fair Political Practices Commission staff. The county, however, has already admitted its error and paid the money. Still, commissioners will formally ratify the recommendation at their April 21 meeting.

According to the FPPC, the county “failed to timely file a lobbyist employer report” for the October through December 2014 quarter. During that time, the county’s lobbyist, a Sacramento-based firm known as Advocation, Inc., was paid $2,500.

Madera County officials said the missed report came when it was making the transition from Advocation to a new lobbying firm – Shaw/Yoder/Antwih. That firm took over for Advocation in November 2014. At the time, it also took over filing reports with the state on Madera County’s behalf, but there was a miscommunication about who was filing the report for that last quarter of 2014 since Shaw/Yoder/Antwih took over in the middle of the quarter from Advocation, Madera officials said.

State records show the report was eventually filed in November 2015.

Information on the FPPC’s investigation shows the county was given credit for eventually filing the report. The FPPC report also said the county had not previously received a penalty from the commission for failing to file a lobbying report, the amount paid to Advocation was small and the agency “found no evidence of intent to conceal.”

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