JumpStart facing $14,000 fine from state watchdog

by John Glidden | Sept. 9, 2020

JumpStart Vallejo is facing a $14,000 fine from the state’s election watchdog after the primarily formed committee was accused of failing to file multiple forms in a timely matter over a span of two years.

The Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) will make a decision on the recommended fine at its Sept. 17 meeting.

The committee’s two treasurers, Curtis Laffety, who served from 2016-2018, and John Cummings, from 2018 to the present, are also named in the FPPC stipulation outing six violations of the election code.

JumpStart and Laffety are accused of failing to file a report outlining the details of independent expenditures totaling about $66,399 from Sept. 25 to Oct. 22, 2016 and Oct. 23 to Dec. 31, 2016.

Laffety and the committee also failed to file semi-annual campaign statements covering the reporting periods of Jan. 1, 2017 – June 30, 2017 and July 1, 2017 – December 31, 2017. The same violations happened with Cummings and the committee during the
reporting periods of Jan. 1, 2019 – June 30, 2019 and July 1, 2019 – Dec. 31, 2019.

In a third violation, Cummings and JumpStart are accused of failing to file a semi-annual and pre-election campaign statements from Jan. 1 through Sept. 22, 2018.

In addition, the commission noted JumpStart failed to report it received large monetary donations within a 24-hour period as required by election law. They include:

  • Four contributions totaling $13,000 on Oct. 18, 2016;
  • A $1,000 contribution on Oct. 25, 2016;
  • A $2,500 contribution on Nov. 1, 2016;
  • And multiple contributions totaling about $64,640 on Oct. 11, 2016

The FPPC says similar failures tool place during the 2018 election when JumpStart failed to file reports stating it received $27,500 from August to October 2018.

Finally, the FPPC said JumpStart failed to submit multiple expenditure reports within 24 hours, as required by law. This includes two separate expenditures of $29,000 in October 2018.

FPPC staff is recommending JumpStart be fined only $14,000 opposed to the $30,000 the committee could be hit with under the election code.

“The Enforcement Division did not find any evidence that the respondents intentionally concealed their contributions from the public,” the same stipulation reads. “The actions of the respondents appear to be negligent and part of a pattern of violations. The respondents do not have a history of violating the Act and have filed all campaign statements at the request of the Enforcement Division. Moreover, respondents have retained the services of a professional campaign treasurer to prepare and file accurate campaign reports in the future.”

Originally formed ahead of the 2013 Vallejo City Council elections, JumpStart is supported by various unions and local businesses, including the Napa/Solano Central Labor Council, and the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) Local 1186.

Published by John Glidden

John Glidden is a freelance journalist reporting on the city of Vallejo. The native Vallejoan also covers the local school district, Vallejo elections, and public safety.

2 thoughts on “JumpStart facing $14,000 fine from state watchdog

  1. I literally just got off the Fair Political Practices Commission website and reading through the Commission Agenda with item on it. Vigilance. Even if after the fact.

    Like

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