NEW DOWNEY COUNCILMAN USES VETERAN’S EXCUSE FOR NOT REPORTING CONTRIBUTIONBy Dave Wielenga
Fernando Vasquez, the newest member of the Downey city council, is falling back upon a well-worn excuse for his failure to report a $2,500 campaign contribution from a local auto dealership before the Nov. 2 election—blaming a subordinate. “It was oversight by the campaign treasurer , who handles our reporting of expenses and campaign contributions,” said Vasquez, referring to Jane Leiderman.
Henry Veneracion, a reporter for The Downey Patriot, discovered the $2,500 contribution—made by Champion Dodge on Oct. 5—on an amended campaign statement filed with the city clerk’s office on Dec. 8. The statement also includes campaign expenses incurred during the period Oct.1-16, although records and press reports originally show that Vasquez reported no contributions were made to his campaign during that period.
According to Downey city clerk Kathleen Midstokke, the general rule governing election campaign contributions is that all of them—monetary and non-monetary—should be reported before the elections…in this case, Nov. 2, 2010.
If a violation of the Political Reform Act occurs (and there’s a whole litany of pertinent provisions), and the Fair Political Practices Enforcement Division determines that such a violation has indeed occurred, the violator is subject to a fine of up to $5,000.
Vasquez’s position is that an oversight by his campaign treasurer is no cause to suspect him of wrongdoing.
“Besides, all reports were filed by us on time,” he told The Patriot. ”Amended statements filed later are allowed.”
The Downey Patriot has obtained a copy of by Councilmember Fernando Vasquez that contains a previously unreported contribution of $2,500 made by Champion Dodge to Vasquez’ campaign on Oct. 5,