The Fair Political Practices Commission is investigating judicial candidate Ken Hara over allegations that he failed to report a nearly $10,000 contribution from the Stanislaus County Democratic Central Committee.
Hara, a Stanislaus Superior Court commissioner, is running against attorneys Jared Carrillo and John R. Mayne to fill the seat of Judge Marie Silveira, who is retiring.
The committee made a $9,807.90 contribution to Hara on Feb. 10.
The contribution is considered a late filing because it is in excess of $1,000 and was given after the closing date of the last campaign statement required to be filed before the election. Late contributors must be filed with the California Secretary of State within 24 hours.
Hara did not respond to repeated attempts to reach him. Friday evening, Hara emailed the following statement:
“All required election documents have been filed with the California Secretary of State and the Stanislaus County Clerk and Recorder. Copies of the documents have also been provided to the Fair Political Practices Commission.”
The committee made the same contribution to Sam Getrich, a candidate in another judicial race, and he reported it on time.
The FPPC has sent several letters to Hara informing him that complaints were made anonymously and by a person identified as Hasten Cupit. A letter sent to him Monday says the enforcement division will investigate the allegations.
A woman named Danielle White emailed The Bee regarding the complaints, saying her husband filed one of them. She said they both are volunteers for Carrillo’s campaign.
The average case takes 105 days to investigate, said FPPC’s communications Director Jay Wierenga.
“But a majority of cases probably are concluded before that, as the more complex and complicated cases take longer and thus spread out the average,” he said.
Wierenga said any violation of the Political Reform Act can result in penalties ranging from a warning letter to a fine up to $5,000 per violation.
The amount of the penalty is assessed based on the seriousness of the violation, harm to the public, previous history of violations and types of penalties given to others for similar violations, he said.
The commission also takes into consideration the sophistication of the violator, like whether he or she is an experienced politician, political campaign organization or a first-time candidate on a shoestring budget.
DAWG SAYS: PERSONALLY, I THINK IT WAS PROBABLY ONE OF THOSE THINGS AND A SIMPLE OVERSIGHT BUT SHOULD NOT HAPPEN. SIMILAR TO WHAT FRANK CARSON DID IN 2014. WILL THE DISTRICT ATTONEYS OFFICE FILE A FELONY AGAINST MR HARA LIKE THEY DID FRANK CARSON? IF NOT, WHY NOT?