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Lathrop mayor fined by California Fair Political Practices Commission

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POSTED June 9, 2014 12:41 p.m.



LATHROP – The California Fair Political Practices Commission believes that Lathrop Mayor Sonny Dhaliwal’s 2010 campaign – for which he was running for reelection to the city council – made glaring errors in reporting campaign contributions and personal loans.

And based on information disclosed Monday, they’re slapping him with a $21,000 fine for doing so – a penalty for violating the Political Reform Act of 1974.

The matter was released as an item for consideration on the body’s agenda and will be up for approval when the body meets on June 19 in Sacramento at 10 a.m.

When presented with the opportunity for a probable cause hearing and an administrative hearing under the Political Reform Act, the decision and order states, Dhaliwal and the campaign representatives, under the advice of private counsel, waived all rights and allowed the matter to move forward to a default decision.

It is alleged that they received $17,500 in personal loans and did not disclose them on campaign forms and collected $4,600 in campaign contributions, not reporting them and then depositing them into a personal bank account – waiting three years until the FPPC contacted him during the investigation before amending the records and putting the money back into his campaign fund.

The report called the ongoing pattern exhibited “egregious” and gave a detailed breakdown of each of the charges that are being levied against Dhaliwal, one of his family members and his 2010 campaign.

Ironically enough, the entire house of cards seems to have pushed in from the bottom during Dhaliwal’s campaign for Mayor two years ago.

Balwant Sandhu – a local businessman who loaned Dhaliwal’s campaign $7,500 – said during a public forum that he also gave a $500 contribution and that while the check was cashed, it never appeared on any filing statements. He accused Dhaliwal of “money laundering activity” and told him that he’d be filing a complaint with the FPPC.

The agency’s report was scathing in its breakdown on the alleged infractions.

“The public harm inherent in these types of violations, where pertinent information is not disclosed by the committee, is that the public is deprived of a means to discover the identity of contributors, the amount contributed, and the nature of the committee’s campaign expenses,” the commission wrote. “Failure to disclose income on a statement of economic interests deprives the public of knowledge about the economic interests of public officials.”

Calls to Dhaliwal for comment went unanswered.

Read the Bulletin on Tuesday for more information.

To contact reporter Jason Campbell email or call 209.249.3544


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