A former candidate for the Los Angeles City Council and a staffer were fined nearly $39,000 Tuesday by the Ethics Commission for knowingly accepting laundered campaign donations and also misspending campaign money on personal expenses.
According to a report from Ethics Commission staff, J. Roy Garcia encouraged several contributors to divide their contributions into smaller amounts and attribute them to other people in order to increase the campaign’s chances of qualifying for matching funds, as city law requires a minimum number of contributors to qualify. Garcia ran for the City Council in the Sixth District in the San Fernando Valley in 2013.
The report said that Garcia and his treasurer, Hardy Henriquez, laundered four contributions of $1,000, which qualified the campaign for $2,000 in matching funds.
According to the report, Garcia also admitted misspending $4,457 of his campaign payments on personal expenses, including tutoring and foreclosure services.
Ethics staff recommended a fine of $38,700, and also the repayment of $2,000 in public funds that Garcia received as a result of the laundered donations.
Garcia and Henriquez admitted that they violated city laws, according to the report, and agreed to the fine. Garcia and Henriquez did not speak at the meeting.
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