Fair Political Practices Commission Agenda Item Faults Chandler/Harbicht 2018 Campaign Mailers

Mayor Pro Tem Roger Chandler may be in hot water, again. – File photo by Terry Miller/Beacon Media News

Originally published Sept. 11 at 11:08 a.m. / Last updated Sept. 11 at 11:57 a.m.

‘Failure to timely file campaign statements and reports is considered a serious violation’ wrote the FPPC

By Terry Miller

Mayor Pro Tem of Arcadia Roger Chandler is facing some additional heat this week this time from the California Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) with a two-count complaint filed after the 2018 Arcadia municipal election.

The complaint outlines two violations:

  • Count 1: Failure to comply with disclosure requirements for advertisements
  • Count 2: Failure to timely file campaign statements and reports.

Politics indeed makes strange bedfellows. Political interests can bring together people who otherwise have little in common. This saying has been adapted from a line in the play “The Tempest” by William Shakespeare: “Misery acquaints a man with strange bedfellows.” Well, Arcadia has certainly seen its fair political share in recent election ears.
California’s FPPC has made a judgment on the fraudulent activities that the Arcadian’s Rights Protection Association to Support Roger Chandler and Bob Harbicht for Arcadia City Council 2018 (referred to as the “Committee” in the complaint) performed for Chandler and Harbicht in Arcadia’s 2018 election. The committee paid $8,660 for a series of mailers supporting Chandler and Harbicht without showing its connection to them. There were other serious violations and the FPPC has fined the committee $4,000.

According to the FPPC complaint, the Committee was a primarily formed group supporting candidates Roger Chandler and Bob Harbicht for Arcadia City Council in connection with the special municipal election held on April 10, 2018. Karlfeldt Su was the treasurer for the Committee and Joseph Su was the principal officer. Chandler was elected to City Council, but Harbicht was not successful. The Political Reform Act (Act) requires committees to meet formatting requirements in accordance with advertisement disclosure provisions and timely file campaign disclosure statements and reports. The Committee violated the Act by failing to comply with advertisement disclosure provisions and failing to timely file a pre-election campaign statement, a 24-hour independent expenditure report, and a semi-annual campaign statement in connection with the April 10, 2018 election.

The FPPC also noted that “The Committee has a prior enforcement history for similar violations. On or around Aug. 25, 2016, Karlfeldt Su signed stipulation in the matter of Arcadian’s Rights Protection Association, FPPC Case No. 16/402, admitting to four violations of the Act, including failure to file a Statement of Organization upon qualifying as a committee, failure to timely file a pre-election statement, and failure to timely file two 24-hour reports for independent expenditures.”

The complaint went on to state that “Failure to timely file campaign statements and reports is considered a serious violation as it deprives the public of timely disclosure of the Committee’s actions, particularly with respect to disclosing who is paying for advertisements.”

While it is common for political opponents to file complaints, Arcadia has seen a history of such complaints in the past several years.

One resident, Roger Nemvara, is so concerned that he plans on speaking on Sept. 17 at Arcadia Council. In an email on Tuesday to Arcadia Weekly Nemvara shared the following:

“Accuracy of voter rolls is vital to a fair and credible election, especially now in this time of district elections when vote counts will be close and every vote will count. It is vitally important that only residents who truly live in Arcadia vote and that they understand the penalties associated with voter fraud. 

“In the 2018 election, several voters were identified as registered and casting votes in District 5 while owning property in another City or County and recording that property as their primary residence. The vote was extremely close with Roger Chandler coming out ahead. The matter was brought to the City’s attention and no further action has been taken. 

“My plan is to discuss this matter at the City Council meeting on Sept. 17. We need to get the issue on record and in front of the council before the 2020 election campaigns get started. I urge you to attend the meeting and voice your concerns about voter fraud and demand that the 2020 election be well supervised, fair and legitimate.”  

Arcadia Weekly contacted Jay Wierenga, Communications Director of the FPPC for a statement on this matter:

“I/ we can’t comment on any pending agenda item. I can tell you the process. Each of these proposed settlements are just that, a settlement that has been reached between the party and FPPC Enforcement. The settlement is then put before the Commission (the Commissioners meet once a month in their monthly meeting to, among other things, take action on Enforcement items such as this) to vote to approve (or reject) each case. Once they vote for approval the case is closed, the proposed settlement becomes a finalized settlement, and the penalty is final. 

“FYI, none of these items makes the monthly agenda until there is a settlement that has been agreed to and the penalty is paid. We hold the payment in escrow until the Commission votes at which time the payment is then given to the State Treasurer’s office as all penalties go to the State General Fund. 

“All details of each case are in the attachment on each agenda item, in the stipulated agreement.”

See complaint in full here.

September 11, 2019

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Terry Miller

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