State audit finds Hill skirting campaign finance law

July 11, 2014
Adam Hill

Adam Hill


An audit conducted by the California Franchise Tax Board has revealed that San Luis Obispo County Supervisor Adam Hill failed to properly disclose nearly $70,000 in campaign expenditures during his most recent run for office.

The California Political Reform Act, passed by voters in 1974, requires the Franchise Tax Board to audit state and local campaigns to determine whether they maintain compliance with elections regulations. The Franchise Tax Board audits different areas in each election cycle, and it recently completed an audit of the 2012 San Luis Obispo County supervisorial campaigns.

In an April 30 report, a tax board auditor wrote that the campaigns of Frank Meacham, Ed Waage, Debbie Arnold and Jim Patterson prepared financial statements that were substantially accurate and complete. But, the report stated that Hill did not disclose $68,059 in payments that firms made on his behalf.

State law requires candidates to disclose payments of $500 or more made by agents or contractors on behalf of political campaigns. For instance, if a candidate pays an advertising agency to purchase radio and television commercials, the campaign must disclose how the agency spends the money.

In May 2012, Hill reported making payments totaling $60,220 to an advertising and public relations firm to use for television and radio advertising. He did not disclose, though, what advertising the firm purchased on his behalf.

The tax board did not indicate that Hill faces any penalty for the violation. The April 30 report states that the tax board contacted Hill’s treasurer, Sharon McMahan, and she said she would try to report sub-vendor information correctly in the future.

Earlier this year, another state agency also notified Hill that he had violated a campaign finance regulation. In March, the California Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) issued a warning letter to Hill for misstating the occupation of developer Gary Grossman.

Last year, Grossman donated $1,000 to Hill in the same week that the supervisor attended a groundbreaking for one of Grossman’s Pismo Beach developments. But, Hill listed Grossman, the president of Coastal Community Builders, as retired on a campaign financial statement.


It’s a tempest in a teapot. I’m not a fan of Adam Hill but this is a trivial violation of reporting rules of the FTB. There are no fines or penalties, no grand jury investigation, no investigation by the Attorney General’s office.

fishing village

small thing!, someone is just trying to get at him? political embarrassment, I guess!


Just when we all think Bruce Gibson is the biggest SCUMBAG. Looks as though him and Hill are running neck and neck!


Maybe he used some of the funny funds to pay for his wedding to Miss Dee this past spring since she didn’t have any gift cards available. Nothing should be put past these two outlaws who truly deserve each other!


Makes one wonder what Hill’s advertising firm purchased that would make Hill want to cover it up.


Is this the same Adam Hill that then Mayor, Mike Brennler endorsed, while firmly planting a knife in the back of then Supervisor Lenthal?

Did he endorsed Gibson at the same time?

I believe he referred to Lenthall as corrupt.

But then again, he says that about a lot of people.

So wrong about so many….and deafly silent.

Mr. Holly

I don’t know about all of this but he had the goods on McKinney. Nobody believed him then until the guy finally bailed wit $144,000.

I wonder if he is going to run for office during the next election? O’Malley vs. Brennler?

What a show that would be.


What is most troubling, is the seeming close knit alliance among those public officials who continually choose to take the moral low road.

Look at their legacy…a tapestry woven with the threads of deceit, moral turpitude, special favors, fraud, cronyism….the list goes on and on. When is enough, enough?


Wow am I surprised! Adam Hill doing something unethical? My world is crumbling.

(I wish there was a sarcasm font).


I wish there was a dbag emoticon. It would be so handy for comments about Adam HIll.


Now, I like to heap disdain on Hill as much as the next guy/ But, from the article, this really wasn’t much of a transgression.

It sounds like an innocent error.

It sounds like he reported the money he gave to the ad agency, but then failed to report what media the ad agency bought.

Apparently, that’s wrong. But, taken in the totality of the wrongness wrought by this supervisorial sh*tstorm, it ain’t no big thing.


If you use a car or truck as a mobile billboard for advertising, do you need to report every road you drove on, where you parked, and how long you parked it for?


There was some whacko that kept posting how Compton had to report as a donation every vehicle that had a Compton sign or sticker on it. I don’t think that fired up anyone but the poster.

My point is Hill has a litany of bad governance and character flaws of substance. This reporting snafu doesn’t seem like a big deal compared to, say Torres-gate, or his Waage impersonations, or skipping the APCD meeting to have coffee with Caren Ray.


@ racket …

You may have overlooked this paragraph

“In an April 30 report, a tax board auditor wrote that the campaigns of Frank Meacham, Ed Waage, Debbie Arnold and Jim Patterson prepared financial statements that were substantially accurate and complete. But, the report stated that Hill did not disclose $68,059 in payments that firms made on his behalf.”

do you suggets that a disclosure issue of over 68 thousand dollars is nothing to sneeze at?


Oh, come on. This is Adam HIll we are talking about.

If he failed to delineate what his ad agency spent the $68,000 for, it was for a reason.


And his CM ran Covello’s campaign, what does that tell you?