The FPPC will decide this week if Fremont
Mayor Lily Mei will pay a $1,406 fine for
violating campaign finance rules.
FREMONT CITY COUNCIL
Fremont Mayor Lily Mei violated state election law after failing to report almost $24,000 in late campaign expenditures during the hard fought 2016 election, according to the state Fair Political Practices Commission. Mei, who upset incumbent mayor Bill Harrison last year, also failed to report more than $5,700 in contributions, in addition, to more than $11,000 in loans and contributions filed after various late reporting periods has passed.
The FPPC is scheduled to approved a stipulated judgment against Mei’s campaign on Dec. 21. The FPPC, though, found no effort on Mei’s campaign to conceal the campaign finance errors, and could be subjected to a $1,406 penalty.
The disclosure may offer some solace to Harrison’s campaign and supporters after Mei made campaign finance a prime election issue, primarily the then-mayor’s reliance on contributions from special interests from developers.
Fremont Vice Mayor Vinnie Bacon took more
than a month to file $24,915 in late pre-election
loans, according to the FPPC.
In many cases, the failure to report campaign contributions, loans and expenditures, especially so late in an election cycle can represent red flags to defenders of transparency.
In addition, Fremont Vice Mayor Vinnie Bacon, an unlikely political ally to Mei, also committed similar election law violations, according to an FPPC investigation.
Like Mei, Bacon did not fight the FPPC’s findings after failing to report $11,378 in late contributions. Bacon’s campaign also took in same cases more than a month to file $24,915 in loans and $22,178 in late contributions, and just as the campaign cycle was in high-gear.
Bacon, who successfully ran for re-election, is facing a $2,381 fine, according to the stipulation to be approved by FPPC this week. The investigation also found no effort on Bacon’s part to purposely violate election law by the actions.
A third Fremont candidate from last year, Cullen Tiernan, a first-time city council candidate who espoused some of the ideas of U.S. Sen Bernie Sanders, also violated the same campaign finance rules. He could be facing a fine of $1,177, according to the stipulation with the FPPC.
Cullen failed to report late contributions totaling $8,324 and neglecting to file on a timely basic late contributions totaling $7,124, along with a $2,000 campaign loan. No intent to violate the law was found by the FPPC.
During the 2016 campaign, Bacon and Tiernan were political allies, with Bacon seemingly taken the first-time candidate under his wing. Tiernan finished sixth out of seven candidates for two at-large seats on the council.