Fresno County GOP fined $29,000

FRESNO — The Fresno County Republican Central Committee has agreed to pay a $29,000 fine to California's political watchdog agency for a series of campaign transactions that violated state election law.

In addition to the fine levied against the Fresno County GOP, San Diego County Assemblyman Joel Anderson has agreed to pay $20,000 for his role in the transactions.

The state Fair Political Practices Commission must approve the settlements at its Dec. 10 meeting. But Anderson and the Fresno County Republican Central Committee have cut checks, said Roman Porter, the commission's executive director.

The fine imposed on Fresno County's GOP was the harshest punishment meted out to three county Republican central committees involved in transactions with Anderson's 2010 campaign committee.

Committees in Stanislaus and Placer counties, which were each involved in a single set of transactions, are to receive letters explaining campaign finance law, but no fines, Porter said.

Collin McGlashen, Anderson's chief of staff, said in an e-mail that "we are working closely and cooperatively with the FPPC ... to correct any mistakes that may have been made."

The Fresno County GOP had donated the money to Anderson — a Republican from the eastern San Diego County town of Alpine — starting in May. Anderson, who is up for re-election next year, also is reportedly considering a state Senate run.

The committee donated to Anderson's 2010 Assembly campaign a short time after it received similar contributions from Anderson's 2008 Assembly campaign, as well as from a prominent San Diego County fam- ily, two Indian tribes based in the county, and San Diego-based Sempra Energy.

In total, San Diego County interests sent $82,900 to the Fresno County Republican Party in May and June, and the Fresno County GOP sent Anderson $78,755 over roughly the same period.

In addition to the Fresno County Republican Central Committee, the FPPC's investigation looked into campaign transactions between Anderson and Republican committees in Stanislaus and Placer counties.

In late June, Anderson's 2008 Assembly campaign gave the Stanislaus GOP $32,400, and the same day the committee gave $31,000 to Anderson's 2010 campaign.

An almost identical transaction between Anderson and the Placer County GOP occurred in mid-June, shortly before the Stanislaus County donations.