Grover Beach mayor fined for concealing campaign donations

August 30, 2016
Grover Beach Mayor John Shoals

Grover Beach Mayor John Shoals

By KAREN VELIE

California’s political watchdog levied a fine against Grover Beach Mayor John Shoals during a hearing on Aug. 18, because he failed to file five campaign reports as required by the government code during his successful bid for office two years ago.

The Fair Political Practices Commission said Shoals’ campaign failed to submit five 24-hour reports for contributions to his campaign that exceeded $1,000 each. California law requires candidates to file reports within 24 hours when they receive contributions of $1,000 or more within 90 days of an election.

The FPPC verified the violations, which were first reported by local government watchdog Kevin Rice, in an audit performed by its enforcement division, according to case documents. The agency, which levied a $1,101 fine, said it found no evidence of any intent to conceal the contributions.

In his complaint, Rice alleges Shoals’ failure to disclose his campaign finances swayed the outcome of the election. Shoals did not properly report more than half of the $20,712 he raised in total contributions during the 2014 campaign.

In Nov. 2014, Shoals defeated incumbent Grover Beach Mayor Debbie Peterson, who is currently a candidate for the Grover Beach City Council. Shoals received 54 percent of the vote, and Peterson garnered 44 percent. Had 170 voters chosen Peterson instead of Shoals, Peterson would have won the mayoral seat, the complaint says.

“John P. Shoals has demonstrated an exceptionally noxious pattern and practice of failing to report required information in campaign reports, filing reports days or weeks late or not filing reports at all,” Rice says in the FPPC complaint. “Shoals deprived his opponent (and the public) of knowledge of large late contributions, several mailings, display ads and automated telephone calls. Had Shoals not hidden his campaign finances, his opponent would likely have adjusted strategy and swayed the election result.”

Shoals, who currently works for PG&E, had previously served on the city council for 10 years, including two terms as the city’s directly elected mayor. Shoals was termed out from running for reelection in 2012, but he reentered the mayoral race in 2014 and won.

“Mayor Shoals has served a number of terms in office and is a public affairs representative for PG&E. He should be aware of and following the law,” Rice wrote in a statement to CalCoastNews.

Rice reviews the financial disclosures of most major candidates and ballot initiatives in the area. Shoals’ reports drew his attention in late 2014 because of omissions and late filings, Rice said.

Later, Rice decided to file a complaint after discovering Shoals had not filed reports that were due within 24 hours and that more than half of Shoals’ contributions were not reported on time or at all.

Shoals is currently running for reelection against former mayor and councilman Ronald Arnoldsen.


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ajdury

I do wish the article informed us of WHO/WHERE those “large late contributions”came from . . .


Kevin Rice

No problem:


7. § 84203(a). Failure to report late contribution (13-day concealment.)

John P. Shoals entirely neglected to file a late contribution report in connection with a

$1,227.50 non-monetary contribution from Central Coast Printing received on Monday,

September 22, 2014 (Exhibit A, at p. 23, FPPC Form 460, Schedule C, line 1.) By doing so,

John P. Shoals concealed this late contribution from the public thirteen (13) days after a late

contribution report was required until disclosed on his October 6, 2014 preelection statement

(Id., at p. 14, Cover Page)


8. § 84203(a). Failure to report late contribution (19-day concealment.)

John P. Shoals entirely neglected to file a late contribution report in connection with a

$1,416.43 non-monetary contribution from Central Coast Printing received on Friday,

October 3, 2014 (Exhibit A, at p. 40, FPPC Form 460, Schedule C, line 1.) By doing so, John

P. Shoals concealed this late contribution from the public nineteen (19) days after a late

contribution report was required, until the filing of his October 23, 2014 preelection statement

(Id., at p. 32, Cover Page)


9. § 84203(a). Failure to report late contribution (13-day concealment.)

John P. Shoals entirely neglected to file a late contribution report in connection with a

$1,503.60 non-monetary contribution from Central Coast Printing received on Thursday,

October 9, 2014 (Exhibit A, at p. 40, FPPC Form 460, Schedule C, line 2.) By doing so, John

P. Shoals concealed this late contribution from the public thirteen (13) days after a late

contribution report was required, until the filing of his October 23, 2014 preelection statement

(Id., at p. 32, Cover Page.)


10. § 84203(a). Failure to report late contribution (104-day concealment.)

John P. Shoals entirely neglected to file a late contribution report in connection with

an aggregate $1,604.00 contribution received eight days before the election from San Luis

Obispo County for Better Government (FPPC ID #1363607) received on Monday, October

27, 2014 (Exhibit A, at p. 61, FPPC Form 460, Schedule C, lines 1 and 2.) By doing so, John

P. Shoals concealed this late contribution from the public one hundred four (104) days after a

late contribution report was required, until the filing of his February 9, 2015 semi-annual

statement (Id., at p. 55, Cover Page.)


11. § 84203(a). Failure to report late contribution (102-day concealment.)

John P. Shoals entirely neglected to file a late contribution report in connection with a

$1,477.89 non-monetary contribution received six days before the election from Central

Coast Printing received on Wednesday, October 29, 2014 (Exhibit A, at p. 61, FPPC Form

460, Schedule C, line 3.) By doing so, John P. Shoals concealed this late contribution from

the public one hundred two (102) days after a late contribution report was required, until the

filing of his February 9, 2015 semi-annual statement (Id., at p. 55, Cover Page.)


analyticone

That last phone banking late donation was for Karen Bright (running for school board) to make a robocall urging Grover Voters to vote for Shoals. Bright has also been featured in TV ads supporting Adam Hill. She’s running for Lucia Mar School Board, but has never attended a school board meeting. Unless you love Hill and Shoals, do not vote for their cheerleader Bright.


AmericaBeautiful

Any comments on these contributors??


T-Bone

Kevin,

Did Central Coast Printing make any non monetary donations to Debbie Peterson in that election?


discloser

Checking her 460s – no.


Kevin Rice

And here’s where it gets interesting… the FPPC made a mistake! They cited Shoals’ October 3 contribution as $4,416, when it was actually only $1,416. Since the FPPC adds a 1% penalty based on the amount—so Shoals actually got fined $30 extra (for the erroneous $3,000).


So, what this tells me is Mayor Shoals didn’t even bother scrutinizing his own case. Again, the same lack of attention that landed him in hot water in the first place. What the heck?? This mayor is not meticulous and pays no attention to detail! Sheesh!


Thomas A

You rock Kevin. Thank you.


Fire Adam Hill.


mbfog

Maybe he has bigger and better things to be concerned with?


The Watcher

Leave the man alone. What have you done for the community.

I’m not bit going to talk about you.

Check yourself!!!!


Josey Wales

Ladies & Gentlemen,


I agree with Mr. Thomas Aquinas!


Clearly this politician, John Shoals, is corrupt and the fact that he will not follow campaign reporting laws indicates that he is not fit to be a leader in our community.


Perhaps more telling, politician Shoals has an issue with his associations. He is in bed with corrupt types like Adam Hill, Bruce Gibson, Caren Ray, Kristian Barneich, Tony Ferrara, etc.


Get it? Our local communities cannot afford to have a guy like this anywhere near power.


Just saying,


Josey


Dump John Schoals


AGDUDE

Kevin Rice has been Behinds Lots of this Stuff, This is Typical of the State of Calif, its a Money grab, They are out to Grab as much money as They are Not entitled to , Ask anyone in Business.

and their are so many Dishonest State employee’s out there it is not funny..


Hey Kevin Get out of the weeds Walk Like a Man ! Dude.. grow a pair..


ThomasAquinas

Mr. Uncofortable, intent is not necessary to break the law. Many crimes are committed, charged and punishment laid down, without a question of intent. Example is manslaughter, crime committed without previous intent proved: GUILTY…..

Sholes and friends, have the intent to mislead the people, evidence is presented, punishment levied. BAM, there out of office… Thanks Kevin…

FIRE Adam Hill 2016


uncomfortabletruth

uh Mr Aquinas, that is a ridiculous argument.


Why don’t we try and stick to the facts.


That fact is the FPPC found NO INTENT to conceal contributions.


That is the fact.


Kevin Rice

The FPPC also found no intent to file on time.


ThomasAquinas

Mr. Uncomfortable, why again was the fine( punishment) levied. Oh, yeah, it was for punishment, for a act against legal and lawful regulations. Isn’t that the topic. Regardless of what I think, or you think, let the community decide what they think. Remove Shoals, and FIRE Adam Hill, and neuter Gibson….


SLOBIRD

This guy is the Supervisor of Government Affairs at PG&E. REALLY! Two years after the fact he should not be allowed to hold office until these FIVE REPORTS are properly completed and turned in.


This is enough to make me do the happy dance that Diablo will be closing and he will be losing that cushion job!


RonHolt

Don’t get too happy. AG Mayor Jim Hill — one of the best politicians we have locally — is also an employee at Diablo Canyon.


analyticone

One big difference. Jim Hill has integrity. I’d trust him to work in a nuclear power plant.


shishkabob141

Mr Holt,

Good man, you are comparing apples or oranges to a lemon.


Julie

Mr. Shoals doesn’t work at Diablo. He does work for PG&E.

That’s about the only thing the two mayors have common.


uncomfortabletruth

Much ADO about nothing!


The FPPC report states ” it found no evidence of any intent to conceal the contributions”.


Seems like Kevin Rice tilting at windmills again.


Kevin Rice

Indeed “intent” is not a component of FAILURE to fulfill filing obligations. That requires only laziness, negligence, or incompetence. The $1,101 fine would have been much stiffer if intent was discovered.


Pelican1

However…comma, perception IS everything and the Mayor as the presumed leader of the community owes the citizens an explanation at the very least.


shishkabob141

Debbie Peterson for Grover Beach Mayor.


Lee D

A sad statement indeed. I suspect this type of thing is more common than we know across all parties. Kevin’s work certainly has a place but I wish it was not so politically motivated and was applied evenly. The effort would then truly serve the purpose as presented.


shishkabob141

Tell that to Ferrara.