An update has been provided in the joint investigation with the Attorney General's office involving four automated telephone calls, or “robocalls,” attacking then-Turlock City Councilmember Mary Jackson. The update comes from the California Fair Political Practices Commission’s most recent agenda, and gives proposed penalties for former City Councilmember Kurt Vander Weide, current Councilmember Amy Bublak, and then-consultant on each of their campaigns, Carl Fogliani.
Back in March, TurlockCityNews.com provided an exclusive look into the 2008 robocall investigation in a three part series, involving former Councilmember Vander Weide, current Councilmember Bublak, and consultant Fogliani.
Now, according to the agenda notice for the July 17 meeting of the FPPC in Sacramento, a default decision has been drafted that means a $32,500 fine for Vander Weide, while Bublak will answer to a smaller fee of approximately $4,000.
In 2008, Vander Weide was an incumbent candidate for the Turlock City Council, but lost the election. “Friends of Kurt Vander Weide” was his candidate-controlled committee.
In the same election, Bublak was a non-incumbent candidate and won one of the two seats that were up for election that year. “Amy Bublak for City Council” was the title of her candidate-controlled committee. Her husband, Milton Richards, acted as the committee treasurer.
During this time, Respondent Fogliani was a paid consultant for Amy Bublak for City Council and Friends of Kurt Vander Weide; he was an agent for these committees and for the candidates who controlled them.
According to the FPPC report, “In this capacity, Respondent Carl Fogliani was compensated for services involving the planning, organizing, and/or directing of various campaign-related activities, including, but not limited to, the broadcasting of recorded political messages via thousands of automated telephone calls that were made for the benefit of Amy Bublak and Kurt Vander Weide.”
Past documents indicate that Fogliani was the one behind the robocalls, with Vander Weide and Bublak providing funding. During the 2008 election, Bublak, Vander Weide, and Jackson were the three front-runners for two available Turlock City Council seats.
Fogliani has admitted responsibility for two of the four robocalls through his attorney, but maintains that he played no role in the other two calls. Bublak and Vander Weide spoke frankly about Fogliani’s style, with Vander Weide calling him a “loose cannon” who often worked without authorization. Both Bublak and Vander Weide claim they had no involvement with the robocalls.
All three now face charges.
Vander Weide and his committee, with the help of Fogliani, paid for one-half of the cost of a series of four robocalls, but three of the four robocalls falsely purported to be paid for by someone else, and the remaining robocall did not identify who paid for it, in violation of government code. Also, according to the FPPC documents, Vander Weide and Friends of Kurt Vander Weide failed to maintain required committee records, falsely reported or failed to report payment for the robocalls on a campaign statement for the period ending Oct. 18, 2008, failed to report payments to subvendors on campaign statements for the periods ending Sept. 30, Oct. 18, and/or Dec. 31, 2008, and failed to notify a major donor of the need to file campaign statements, all in violation of government code.
Because the Amy Bublak for City Council committee, Richards, and Bublak have all elected to settle with the Enforcement Division, they are not affected by the same Default Decision and Order that applies to Vander Weide. Theirs is a separate agenda item.
In the agenda item detailing Bublak’s involvement in the robocalls, the FPPC document states that her committee, including her husband Richards, failed to report a payment in the amount of $1,000 on a pre-election campaign statement for the period ending Sept. 30, 2008, in violation of government code. The document explains that the payment was to Fogliani Strategies, Fogliani’s campaign consulting business. They also failed to report required information about four expenditures to subvendors, which totaled approximately $23,518, on campaign statements for the periods ending Sept. 30, Oct. 18, and/or Dec. 31, 2008, also in violation of government code. Bublak and her committee’s total proposed penalty is estimated at $4,000.