IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
Does Lupe Ramos Watson Think She’s Above the Law?
Lupe Ramos Watson seems to think the rules don’t apply to her. In 2013, Watson was fined thousands of dollars for breaking conflict of interest laws. Now, less than a week after announcing her congressional campaign, Watson is potentially violating Federal Election Rules.
As the Desert Sun reports, Watson appeared to solicit illegal corporate checks on invitations for her first fundraiser tomorrow night and neglected key language required by law.
ICYMI: The Desert Sun: Campaign finance snafu
A digital fundraising flier for Indio Mayor Lupe Ramos Watson, a Republican who is running for Congress in 2016, noted last week that “corporate checks accepted” — which is prohibited, according to Federal Election Commission rules.
The gaffe appeared on a website run by the Riverside-based Michael Williams Company. It was quickly corrected — or, to be more accurate, deleted — on Thursday.
As of Friday morning, the online flier also lacked an explicit “paid for by” disclaimer, though it did provide the name and FEC identification number of her campaign committee, Lupe for Congress.
It’s not immediately clear whether this rises to the level of a campaign finance violation. Christian Hilland, a deputy press officer for the FEC, said that would need to be determined by a group of six commissioners.
There were no problems, however, with the paper fundraising flier that Ramos Watson’s staff circulated last week.
Her campaign consultant, Tommy Knepper, said he did not sign off on the digital version that appeared on Williams’ site, but asked that it be immediately corrected.
Williams owned up to the error, telling the Desert Sun via email that “in our haste to get the material out…we failed at oversight.”
Lupe Ramos Watson Fined $4,000 For Vote On Measure To Authorize City Lease Of Property 500 Feet From Her Own. “The California Fair Political Practices Commission fined Indio Councilwoman Lupe Ramos Watson $4,000 with a 4-0 vote Thursday for violating conflict-of-interest laws. A yearlong investigation by the commission found that Ramos Watson had a financial interest in the property directly across Indio Boulevard from the proposed Indio Transportation Center and should have recused herself from a City Council vote on Nov. 14, 2007.” [Desert Sun, 8/22/13]
FPPC: Violation Of Conflict Of Interest Ban “At Least, Negligent, And At Worst, Deliberate.” “Thus, Respondent’s actions, taken as a whole, show a serious violation of the Act that was, at least, negligent, and at worst, deliberate.” [Fair Political Practices Commission FPPC No. 12/489, 8/13/13]
2013: Desert Sun Called Her Claim Of Not Remembering The Vote “Hard To Believe.” “Indio Councilwoman Lupe Ramos Watson says she doesn’t remember voting on the Indio Transit Center (her vote is recorded in the minutes), a problematic vote for her as she has a financial interest in property across the street…It’s hard to believe her memory lapsed on such a high-profile vote, and the contention didn’t help her anyway. California’s Fair Political Practices Commission decided this week to fine her $4,000 on a conflict-of-interest claim, saying the vote was ‘at least, negligent, and at worst, deliberate.’” [Desert Sun Editorial, 8/23/13]