The Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) passed enforcement matters eight and nine at its meeting Thursday, approving fines for former Turlock City Councilmember Kurt Vander Weide, and current City Councilmember Amy Bublak.
The two were involved in a robocall investigation, in which the campaign manager for both of their individual campaigns, Carl Fogliani, was allegedly placed robocalls to Turlock voters, claiming that a third candidate in the 2008 election, Mary Jackson, was in support of gay marriage. Both matters passed with a 4-0 vote.
Bublak was a non-incumbent candidate in the 2008 election. “Amy Bublak for City Council” was the title of her candidate-controlled committee and her husband, Milton Richards, acted as the committee treasurer.
Vander Weide was an incumbent candidate and his candidate controlled committee was named “Friends of Kurt Vander Weide.”
Both Bublak and Vander Weide claimed no involvement in the calls, with Vander Weide explaining that Fogliani often did things without authorization in his campaign, and Bublak venting similar frustrations.
Now, Bublak and Richards both agreed to the stipulation in the FPPC’s Decision and Order that gives two counts: the first that they violated the expenditure reporting requirements of Section 84211, and the second that they violated the subvendor reporting requirements of Sections 84211 and 84303.
In other words, Bublak and Richards’ violations have to do with reporting violations, not with the robocalls themselves.
The FPPC document acknowledges that in addition to the counts held in the stipulation, the case also involved concealment of the source of the series of political robocalls.
“However, Respondents Amy Bublak, Amy Bublak for City Council, and Milton Richards are not being charged in connection with these robocalls because Respondent Amy Bublak maintains that she instructed her campaign consultant, Carl Fogliani, not to do robocalls, and Respondents have agreed to pay a fine and settle as to other counts, which are set forth in this stipulation. There will be no further prosecution of Respondents Amy Bublak, Amy Bublak for City Council, and Milton Richards regarding the robocalls,” the document states.
As a result, Bublak, her husband, and the committee will not be prosecuted for the robocalls, but instead pay fines totaling $4,000 for the two counts of reporting violations.
Vander Weide, Friends of Kurt Vander Weide, and Carl Fogliani will pay a much higher fine. They are charged on eight counts of failure to report the robocalls. Counts one through four involve failure to comply with identification requirements for making political robocalls, count five is failure to maintain required committee records, count six is false reporting/failure to report robocall expenditures, count seven is failure to report payments to subvendors, and count eight is failure to notify major donor of the need to file campaign statements.
According to FPPC Communications Director Jay Wierenga, Vander Weide and Friends of Kurt Vander Weide are held responsible for $12,500 of the fines, while Carl Fogliani faces the remaining $20,000.
The votes passed with only a 4-0 vote instead of a 5-0 vote because, according to Wierenga, Commissioner Sean Eskovitz’s plane landed late, delaying his arrival.