Contra Costa supe agrees to $14k penalty

The state Fair Political Practices Commission and Contra Costa County Supervisor John Gioia have agreed to a $14,000 administrative penalty for violations of the Political Reform Act, according to a stipulated agreement filed by the commission’s enforcement division.

Committees connected to Gioia’s 2010 and 2014 election campaigns failed to meet deadlines for filing 16 documents tracking their contributions and expenditures between 2013 and 2016. One of the documents, a pre-election report from 2014, was filed in January 2016 — roughly 22 months late.

The committees allegedly violated the Political Reform Act, racking up a total of six counts of failure to timely file semi-annual campaign statements, one count of failure to timely file pre-election campaign statements, and one count of failure to timely file 24-hour contribution reports, according to the stipulated agreement.

With eight counts and a maximum penalty of $5,000 per count, Gioia could have been looking at $40,000 in penalties.

The commission considers a number of factors to determine what they consider the appropriate penalty, including the seriousness of the violation, intention to conceal or deceive, whether the violation was deliberate or inadvertent, whether the violation was part of a pattern, whether corrections were voluntarily filed, and whether the campaign in question has a prior record of similar violations.

Gioia’s campaign committees demonstrated a pattern of failure to timely file their semi-annual campaign statements, according to the stipulation.

They were fined $1,500 for each of those six counts, as well as $3,000 for the single count of failure to timely file pre-election campaign statements and $2,000 for the single count of failure to timely file 24-hour contribution reports.

Jay Wierenga, the commission’s communications director, said:

“This has been agreed to, this has been signed, we have the check.”

But the stipulated agreement still has to be submitted for consideration at a meeting of the Fair Political Practices Commission, currently scheduled for 10 a.m. on Aug. 17 in Sacramento.

Wierenga said:

“If the commission votes to accept this as presented, then the check goes to the state.”

Gioia has been a Contra Costa County supervisor since 1998. His office did not respond to requests for comment.