Contentious supervisor race impacts future candidates
September 2, 2014
By KAREN VELIE
UPDATE: The Fair Political Practices Commission sent Lynn Compton a warning letter dated Sept. 2. The warning says Compton violated the Political Reform Act by not reporting the value of the use of vehicles adorned with advertising. And that because Compton took quick action and immediately amended her filing, no further action will be taken.
ORIGINAL: Amid a complaint from a Nipomo man, Lynn Compton amended most of her campaign statements to include the cost of advertising on vehicles owned by her family business, something all candidates will now be required to do.
In May, Supervisor Caren Ray supporter Ed Eby filed a complaint with the California Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC). Eby’s complaint says Ray’s opponent, District 4 candidate Lynn Compton, had not claimed the cost of vehicles adorned with campaign advertisements.
In his complaint, Eby claimed Compton had rented the vehicles or purchased them outright from Valley Farm Supply, a company owned by Compton and her husband. Compton had claimed the cost of the signs on her election forms.
The FPPC responded by sending Compton a letter asking her to amend her disclosure forms. Compton complied and modified her filings to include in-kind donations of $40,800, for the cost of renting the sides of vehicles owned by her family business.
In the past, numerous local candidates have placed advertisements on vehicles. These signs range in size from bumper stickers to large vinyl wraps that cover vehicles.
Locally, San Luis Obispo County Sheriff Ian Parkinson moved a truck around the county with a large advertisement on the sides, former Supervisor Paul Teixeira placed his signs on a farm trailer, District Attorney candidate Tim Covello had his name on the back of a vehicle window. However, none of these candidates claimed the cost of renting or purchasing the vehicles donning their political advertisements.
In the past, candidates claimed the cost of purchasing the advertisement and placing it on the vehicle, but not the cost of the vehicle unless it was rented or purchased for the campaign. That has now changed.
However, it is not yet clear what size an advertisement has to be before a candidate is required to note the cost of utilizing a portion of a vehicle for advertising.
San Luis Obispo attorney Stew Jenkins assisted Compton with the amended filings.
“To answer your question about why the Lynn Compton for Supervisor campaign filed amended campaign finance reports, the answer is quite simple,” Jenkins said in the following email.
“The Lynn Compton Supervisorial Campaign fully and accurately reported all of its expenditures and contributions under existing law for each reporting period in a timely manner from the beginning. The Fair Political Practices Commission staff expanded reporting requirements, asking for new information about a candidate’s and their spouse’s personal efforts that have never previously been considered contributions in this or any other county prior to this election. When the FPPC asked that Lynn’s campaign statements be amended to cover the new, expanded reporting requirements, the additional information was fully, accurately and timely provided in amended reports as requested.
“Lynn Compton and her family are committed to winning this race without becoming beholden to special interests, contributing their own resources to Lynn’s campaign in addition to contributions made by her many, many, supporters. In contrast, Lynn’s opponent has actively sought huge contributions from large developers with numerous projects and permits now in front of the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors, or soon to be brought before the board.
“To put how the new requirement was applied in perspective, it is very like a campaign having already reported that the candidate and their spouse personally paid for T-shirts bearing the candidate’s name and slogan, followed by a request to report the “fair market value” of the candidate’s family and employees voluntarily wearing the T-shirts to school, to the grocery, or in the candidate’s business. Without addressing the constitutionality of this new requirement, in the spirit of full transparency, the Lynn Compton campaign provided the information when request was made for this type of additional information.”
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