|Alameda County Supervisor Scott Haggerty PHOTO/Shane Bond ILLUSTRATION/ Steven Tavares|
ALAMEDA COUNTY BOS | The Fair Political Practices Commission, the state body that oversees campaign fundraising and potential conflicts of interest, issued a warning letter in the last month to Alameda County Supervisor Scott Haggerty, but issued no fines, says his chief of staff.
The investigation into Haggerty’s economic interest and campaign disclosure filings with the FPPC was triggered by allegations from his former chief of staff Chris Gray, who was fired last June and subsequently filed a complaint against his former employer for discrimination. The Alameda County Civil Grand Jury is investigating Gray’s allegations. Haggerty’s chief of staff Shawn Wilson, said the supervisor received notice of the grand jury receiving an anonymous complaint over the issue.
Haggerty’s office recently received the warning letter, says Wilson, but minor revisions were already made to the supervisor’s Form 460 and 700 filings, he said, following their own investigation, which found two unreported personal loans.
“The loans were small and overlooked because they were personal in nature and made by people that did not have any business with the county and the supervisor has known both of them for over 30 years,” Wilson said. “We took the initiative and reported our findings to the FPPC with the proper corrections made. The FPPC issued a warning letter and the issue has been closed.”
Candidates for public office are required to periodically report campaign-related expenditures and fundraising on a “consolidated campaign disclosure,” better known as Form 460. In addition, a “statement of economic interests,” (Form 700) is also required detailing the candidate’s personal income and investments. The disclosure is typically used to locate any potential economic conflicts of interest between the candidate and the office or subsequent matters that may be voted upon in the future.
According to the FPPC, the issuance of warning letters without a violation is somewhat common; however, most complaints are resolved with a simple advisory letter. A warning letter is typically sent when its enforcement division finds enough evidence to prove wrongdoing, but may choose against a fine for a variety of factors, including no history of previous transgressions by the candidate or public official.
Shortly after Gray’s termination last June, he filed a legal complaint with the county alleging his former employer of 16 years, routinely filed shoddy campaign finance forms and incomplete economic interest reports. Gray also claimed the often-gruff Haggerty, known for a wickedly wry sense of humor, mistreated staff. An investigation by counsel for the Alameda County Board of Supervisors reported last December also found no merits to Gray’s claims against Haggerty.