Brian Hilemon and Robert “Rob” Shield ran for East County offices in the November 2014 elections but had different finishes. Shield won and Hilemon lost.
Yet last week they shared the same outcome — being fined a little over $200 each for violating California election laws.
According to the Fair Political Practices Commission, Hilemon and Shield were late reporting their campaign spending for seats on the Grossmont Healthcare District board and Grossmont Union High School District board, respectively.
Shield and Hilemon were fined $217 and $216, respectively, under a new streamlined penalty system, according to an FPPC spokesman.
“In our initial offer to settle, we typically give the respondent three to four weeks from the date of the letter to respond to the offer. Most do so,” spokesman Jay Wierenga said Tuesday.
- See: FPPC stipulation of penalty for Brian Hilemon (PDF)
- See: FPPC stipulation of penalty for Robert Shield (PDF)
Their deadline for reporting final expenses through Dec. 31, 2014, was Feb. 2, 2015. But Shield filed June 24 and Hilemon on Aug. 27.
How did the FPPC become aware of the violations? An anonymous tip? A formal complaint? A Franchise Tax Board audit?
None of the above, Wierenga said.
“In this case, these were both referrals from the [San Diego] County Registrar of Voters,” he said. “Referrals are made on a standard form.”
Neither Shield nor Hilemon responded to Times of San Diego requests for comment. Shield is president of the high school board; Hilemon is director of marketing partnerships with the San Diego Tourism Authority, according to his LinkedIn profile.
Their penalties were a percentage of their final Form 460 report spending, the FPPC spokesman said. In these cases, about 13 percent.
Shield reported spending $1,704 — most of it for inclusion in voter guides. Hilemon reported spending $1,663 — with a third of that on Facebook ads. (Their reports can be viewed online at the Registrar of Voters site.)
Shield (who took first in his race) and Hilemon (who finished last) were far from being the worst offenders whose penalties were approved Nov. 19 at the FPPC meeting in Sacramento.
Dozens of candidates or campaigns were fined between $200 and $400, but the San Joaquin County Republican Central Committee/California Republican Victory Fund and Louis Lemos were ordered to pay $5,000.
The FPPC meeting of Nov. 19 was posted to YouTube: