Cedillo finds loophole in campaign donation law

President of the Center for Governmental Studies Robert Stern called for more restrictions in a story written by Rebecca Kimitch that shows Sen. Gil Cedillo’s staffers have used a loophole in campaign finance laws that allows Cedillo to buy gifts with campaign donations.

Cedillo is running for the 32nd Congressional seat.

 

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From the story:

Cedillo and key members of his legislative staff annually exchange gifts during the holidays, staff members have said. But while the staff members pay for their gifts to the state senator themselves, Cedillo uses contributions from donors to buy his staff members’ gifts.

According to public records, Cedillo has spent nearly $15,000 of campaign contributions over the past six years at Banana Republic, Nordstrom, Bloomingdales, Ann Taylor and a handful of other high-end retail stores.

Cedillo said all of the purchases were gifts for his legislative and political staff, as well as other lawmakers.

Daniel Savage, Cedillo’s chief of staff, said he has regularly received gifts from Cedillo – a shirt and tie every year for Christmas. Savage, who has known Cedillo for decades, said he reciprocates with the same.

“(Cedillo) is using his campaign funds as a supplement to his income,” said Robert Stern, president of the nonprofit Center for Governmental Studies and former general counsel for the Fair Political Practices Commission. “When I give gifts, exchange gifts, it’s out of my own pocket… The staffer has to use personal funds for his gift to (Cedillo).”

Read more.

  • Centurian

    Here’s what the Cedillo camp doesn’t (or doesn’t want to) understand: Even if it’s not illegal, it is wrong to take money donated to your campaign and use it to enrich yourself or your supporters/staff.

    Election and ethics laws prevent interests from giving money and gifts directly to the candidate or the candidate’s staff. When you take legal campaign contributions and convert them to gifts that enrich the candidate or the staff, it is undermining the spirit of those laws.

  • Chris Cama

    Jen (Love the blogs) and Rebecca (Love the story)

    You should take it a step further and look at staff members 700 forms since he buys them gifts they should be reporting them since it is required by law. Check out what they were bought and find out how much it was bought for. We want to see details!

    Keep in mind some of these staffers hold elected and appointed positions as well.

  • Anonymous

    Is this the guy that Ed Chavez is supporting? Seems like these type of criminal politicians hang together.

    Ed Chavez files for should have asked Gil Cedillo for a loan, then maybe he could have avoided bankruptcy.

  • Ed Chavez is crooked

    Is this the guy that Ed Chavez is supporting? Seems like these type of criminal politicians hang together.

    Ed Chavez files for should have asked Gil Cedillo for a loan, then maybe he could have avoided bankruptcy.

  • anonymous

    Jennifer can you also look up our local councilmembers in the san gabriel valley. i would love too see who goes to free sport games and gets tickets to concerts. seems like these guys can afford it, but i guess they all think that “it” is owed them. thank you

  • anonymous

    Jennifer can you also look up our local councilmembers in the san gabriel valley. i would love too see who goes to free sport games and gets tickets to concerts. seems like these guys can afford it, but i guess they all think that “it” is owed them. thank you

  • Anonymous

    Jenny and Becky,

    Can we please move on now? How about talking about issues pertaining to the SGV and not continue to dwell on how somebody purchased a scarf and some ties for his staff.

    Certainly there are more important issues to write about.

  • Anonymous

    Centurian,

    What are you talking about? You don’t even make sense!!

    You speak like Cedillo should be arrested for not breaking the law.

    Read your post before embarrasing yourself!!

  • Chris Cama

    Anonymous Three – It is an issue of the SGV! It shows where his priorities are. In an economic crisis we use most our money for needs not wants. Don’t get me wrong I’m a Democrat and believe he has a great voting record, HOWEVER, we are in an economic crisis meaning we need someone with brian power to help us get out of this mess. Her name is Judy Chu.

  • Concerned about Ed Chavez

    We got a call from Ed Chavez yesterday asking us to support Gil Cedillo for Congress. What a joke! Someone send in the clowns!

    Is this the guy that Ed Chavez is supporting? The same Ed Chavez that was busted leaving a sleazy Sacramento area motel 6 with a woman a few years back?

    The same Ed Chavez that used his campaign funds to travel the world and take his family out for lavish dinners and vacations? Pebble beach, Hollywood, Carmel, Europe…then filed for bankruptcy?

    Seems like Cedillo and Chavez (and his wife) are sketchy characters.

    Cedillo, learn a lesson. Chavez IS NOT the guy you want calling for you. Learn about the SGV my friend.

  • Centurian

    Cedillo Staffer– Stop embarrassing yourself and your candidate. Trying to pretend there’s nothing wrong with taking campaign contributions and converting them into your senator’s own personal slush fund only proves my point.

    Honesty and corruption ARE issues, and your candidate and his staffers seem to have a problem with that.

  • Anonymous

    Chris Cama,

    How do you figure? Judy is not even comfortable in a crowded room speaking to her own constituents. How are we supposed to believe she will fair in the House of Congress?

  • Chris Cama

    I’m calling your BS! Gil Cedillo didn’t even bother to show up to face the REAL DEMOCRATIC ACTIVISTS in the 32nd district! Who will he “fair”?

  • Yankee Bravo

    Being an articulate speaker does not a great leader make. The *real* work in Congress is done in committees, where trust and hard work count more than a slick look and questionable ethics. They call the latter “show horses” and the former “work horses.” Work horses earn the respect of their colleagues, while show horses prance around, looking good but accomplishing nothing.

    And I echo Chris Cama: The real Democratic activists are the ones who voted in the party endorsement caucus–which Cedillo gave up on after he realized he was going to get his butt spanked.

  • SGV Insider

    Yankee Bravo and Chris Cama, good points. But I beg to differ with YB: Cedillo is far from a “show horse.” Anonymous, have you even heard your candidate speak? He’s a mumbler. He needs to take some lessons in oratory. He starts off strong: I will fight for drivers licenses for undocumented….” only to trail off at the end: “…. immigrants so they can mumble mumble mumble.”
    No wonder he never bothered passing the bar. He would have gotten killed in litigation.

  • Anonymous

    Chris Cama, Yankee Bravo, and SGV Insider,

    Cedillo will be our next Congressman. I know it and you know it. Hence the reason for the personal attacks. Judy will put up a noble fight; however, when the day is done and the votes are in, the best and most qualified candidate to represent the interests of the 32nd will prevail. The polling numbers speak for themselves.

    Lets face it fellas there are only 8-10 of us on this blog. All the B.S. spoken here is falling on deaf ears. When the smoke clears, Cedillo better gear up for some cold D.C. winters.

  • anonymous

    Judy Chu does great in addressing any group of people. She is well aware of evey aspect within the San Gabriel Valley. She is confident and well educated. Her background and experience will bring much to President Obama’s plans for our Nation.

  • SGV Insider

    Anonymous,

    Show me the polls!

    And by dismissing the readership of the Leftovers blog, it shows that you are truly an LA-centric person who has no idea what goes on in the San Gabriel Valley (hmmmm, sound familiar? Just like Cedillo thinks everybody east of the 710 knows him and is automatically in the bag for him. You guys are in for a rude awakening).

    Leftovers is consistently one of the top three blogs read on the SGV Tribune site. They get read by anyone who is involved in politics, or interested in the political goings on in the SGV. In other words, they get read by the people who are the MOST LIKELY TO VOTE in a low-turnout, special election.

    That being said, the roughly 9-1 negative comments about your boy on this blog are not necessarily a good harbinger of things to come, are they?

  • Anonymous

    I wonder what “polls” you are talking about? Care to share, Cedillo staffer? Or is this just more made up disinformation, like the letter you sent to the endorsement caucus delegates, telling them to come to the caucus AFTER the registration period was over?

  • Chris Cama

    FYI: A crap load of people read the blog, it’s just a few of us that fight each other on it… I can name names but I wont say. I’ll name initials: BE, LB, MT, RH, FS, DJ, LR, MB, and those are just some – my favorite who blogs on here and thinks no one thinks it’s him is ED CHAVEZ (are you still in your 40′s lving at home?) But it’s only obvious because of IP addresses and people are stupid enough to think they can’t get caught.

    Gil Cedillo has a shot there is no doubt, my problem is the lies he send out in his last mail piece. That’s really classy… Throw up titles from other newspapers and make it look like Chu is responsible. She’s the tax collector, the Assemblymembers and Senators are the Tax deciders. Oh Wait! Who’s the one in the legislature right now? Cedillo? Who ethically doesnt accept gifts but unethically takes campaign cash to buy his own gifts? Cedillo? Who hires unethical people to run his campaign? Cedillo? Cedillo? Can he win? Sure he can. But is he the best NO. Wasn’t it Cedillo who was asked what he thought about “Azusa” and he didn’t know what it was until a staffer said “Azusa is part of the district Senator”

    To me Cedillo is just another typical politician trying to move up. If he wanted to run for Congress why didnt he run IN HIS OWN DISTRICT?

  • Anonymous

    Chris Cama,

    Cedillo has family who live in Azusa, Certainly he knows it is in the district. Don’t believe everything you hear.

    Sniveling is so unattractive!! Quit whining and cast your vote. We will chat the day after the election.

  • Chris Cama

    My email is Chriscamalot@yahoo.com talk to me, and start using your name don’t be hiding. Well at least his family is from the district. Too bad he’s not and is a carpet bagger. I can’t wait to see him and ask him why he feels he needs to leave his community from he should of ran vs Congressman XB. He is a political whore who is looking for his own personal career. Oh FYI, as a Latino non-catholic he mailed out a piece assuming all Latinos are Catholics. I don’t mind it but he sure did PO a few ppl in the district.

  • Yankee Bravo

    That last Cedillo mailer was very unethical. Big headlines with names like Bear-Stearns, AIG and Lehman Brothers, and a big headline about tax cuts for “big companies.” But NONE of the tax cuts were for any of the companies with headlines! And, as noted by Chris, tax policy is set by the state legislature; the Board of Equalization just makes sure it is carried out fairly.

    Double-shame on Cedillo and his supporters for supporting this unethical, misleading, and underhanded campaign, and then, even worse, whining when someone calls ‘em on it.

  • Anonymous

    Chris Cama,

    Emailing you at home would never be half as fun as irritating you on this blog.

    Double for you Yankee Bravo.

    Talk to both you cats after the election. No sniveling aloud, yes, that means me too!

    Love,

    “ANOYMOUS”

  • Anonymous

    What, no friends will talk to you, so you need to post anonymously to get anyone to listen to you?

  • Yankee Bravo

    Nice story in the L.A. Times, calling out Cedillo on that last mailer: http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-32nd-congress2-2009may02,0,1193507.story

    Apparently, if you’re a Cedillo staffer, getting a refund when you over pay your taxes is the same as being given a “corporate tax loophole.” How lame is that? How week is it that his supporters can’t even defend it? All they can say is, “Let’s talk about something else”?

    I seem to recall reading somewhere a few weeks ago that you only go negative when you’re behind in the polls? What does it say about Cedillo if he not only goes negative, but goes negative with the utterly bogus charge that refunding a company’s overpaid taxes is what led to the current economic mess?

  • Anonymous

    Anonymous,

    Nah….Plenty of friends indeed. Just love irritating guys with red curly hair and big red noses.

    Yankee Bravo,

    Judy has run for 10 elected positions in the last 20 years! She ran twice for the state Senate and had her clock cleaned each time. Why do you assume she could win this Congressional seat?

  • Yankee Bravo

    Three reasons. The main reason is that Gloria Romero dropped out of the congressional race. If Romero were confident she could have beaten Chu, Romero would have stayed in the race. Alternatively, if Chu didn’t think she could beat Romero, she would never have announced after Romero tried to clear the field for herself. Instead, it was Romero who blinked.

    The fact that Romero dropped out of a race for a seat that didn’t have term limits for one that is term limited tells me she was a lot more confident of being able to win the SPE race than she was of winning the race for Congress.

    The second reason is that the Democratic party powers that backed other candidates in Judy’s unsuccessful runs are backing her, this time. She has the party endorsement, the endorsement of the county labor federation, the environmentalists, the teachers, law enforcement, women’s groups, etc., etc. Cedillo has, what, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus? BFD.

    The third reason is that Cedillo is a far weaker candidate than Romero would have been. Yeah, to some extent, he “had” to run because there wasn’t any place else he could go. But he’s got little connection with the district, virtually no support among the local elected officials and party activists, and began the race as an unknown in the district. Among those who did know anything about him, his negatives outweighed his positives. Bottom line: If Romero couldn’t beat Chu, there’s no way Cedillo does.

  • Jose Mejia

    I got done walking for Judy Chu last week and I can tell you there are alot of people who don’t like Gil Cedillo. The LA Times and Tribue story did not help either

  • Captain Kirk

    I can’t believe all this libel being spun by the Chu folks. All the polling says Cedillo is going to walk away with this one and so she’s creating baseless lies about him. She should spend less time throwing stones about campaign dollars spent on campaign staff who make next to nothing and more time accounting for the millions in tax breaks that she voted to give her own doners. Talk about the pot calling the kettle a crook!

  • Sara Kim

    I’ve lived in this district for five years and I know exactly who Gil Cedillo is. I don’t need to learn it from some opponent’s hate mail. That said, I’ve never seen Judy Chu at any meetings in this district and I attend alot. Some people on here seem to like her, so I’ll give her the benifit of the doubt, but I’ve got no doubt at all that Cedillo is invested in this community adn will represent us well.

  • Signs of Life

    I keep hearing from the Chu team that the accusation that the tax breaks that Chu voted to give her donors was simply money that should have been returned to them. Would one of the Chu proponents on here explain why she voted on them at all? Aren’t members of the board supposed to recuse themselves of votes that deal with those coorperations that have given them money in the past? If it was all on the up and up, why vote on it at all?

  • El Gato Malo

    Post three times and you’re still just one person, you know.

    It’s a routine matter, not one in which the member is exercising discretion where one could give consideration to a donor. This isn’t the same as, for example, if I take $125,000 from donors and use it to finance my own personal extravegances, then wonder why people are accusing me of impropriety. . . .

  • Anonymous

    El Gato Malo,

    You sound a little nervous that Captain Kirk/Sara Kim and Signs of Life is one person posting as opposed to three.

    I have walked precincts and phone banked for Gil Cedillo over the past three weeks and I will tell you that he is doing very very, well amongst the people I have spoken to.

    Jose Mejia,

    We too are hearing many negative comments about Judy Chu . I won’t discuss it here; but some people are not very nice.

  • SGV Insider

    Capt. Kirk/Sara Kim/Signs of Life,

    All you got to do is read the latest Times article to find out who is spreading libel/hate mail/baseless lies. Here is a hint: it’s not Judy Chu.

    READ:
    http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-32nd-congress2-2009may02,0,1193507.story

    Too bad somebody has to make up fake headlines to distract from the very real headlines about his profligate ways.

  • El Gato Malo

    The quiver in my voice? That’s from trying to suppress laughter. I’m trying not to pass out from laughter at the Cedillo staffer that keeps claiming that “all the polling” has his candidate ahead. That smacks of desperation. If I knew my candidate was far ahead, I’d just be smiling and laughing and pointing my finger at the anonymous multi-poster and the ridiculousness of the lies coming from the multi-poster and his candidate.

    Oh, hey, speaking of laughter, I got “An Important Message from Gil Cedillo” in the mail yesterday. Turns out he’s decided that the reason why the L.A. Times is writing bad stuff about him is because he’s such an upstanding individual.

    Yeah, the LA Times: Always picking on the virtuous, aren’t they?

    You keep talking up “all the polling,” Tiberius. The more you talk about being ahead, the more I know your candidate is not.

  • Anonymous

    El Gato Malo,

    We will talk after the election….I will be happy to discuss the campaign and the successful/unsuccessful strategies of the Chu Campaign. You will be surprised to find out I am not a staffer but a proud member of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor! No, not as a member of the executive staff but as a rank and file member who has watched Gil Cedillo EARN his stripes while standing side by side with fellow union members.

    I will forward you my email address after the election and we will talk.

  • Jose Mejia

    If I think I know who you are you are “RR”

    Your all talk! No game! Ok guys there is no reason to argue with this guy.

  • Anonymous

    El Gato Malo….Jose Mejia is clueless…. My offer to you stll stands. If Jose behaves we might let him partake in some intelligent conversation.

  • Downtown Democrat

    Antonio Villaraigosa endorses Judy Chu for the 32nd Congressional District and Jack Weiss for Los Angeles City Attorney.

    Sorry Judy and Jack the kiss of death has been bestowed upon you both. Compliments of our lying, cheating, self-indulgent mayor, Fast Tony Villar!!