Today, RAGEPATH submitted a formal sworn complaint to the California Fair Political Practices Commission regarding Assemblymember Cristina Garcia’s financial disclosures and campaign finance reports.
The complaint details six apparent violations of the California Political Reform Act. Each pertains to possibly inaccurate or incomplete documentation of Ms. Garcia’s financial interests or her campaign finances.
The potential violations we have identified could be quite serious. They include: (1) the undisclosed gift of an entire apartment building worth more than $400,000 (California law prohibits gifts larger than $250); (2) loans of $180,000 from out-of-state residents backed in part by real estate that Ms. Garcia acquired for free during an election campaign; and (3) the use of campaign funds to pay for stays in out-of-state luxury hotels on trips with no clear campaign purpose.
It is our hope that Ms. Garcia will be able to provide further information that shows no violations of California law have occurred. We further hope that Ms. Garcia will be able to provide the public with a clearer picture of her campaign and personal finances.
At RAGEPATH, we believe that public office is a sacred trust and that public officials are rightfully called upon to place that trust above their personal interests. We believe that elected officials should be held to an even higher standard than private citizens, one that reflects both the values and the concerns of the citizenry that has chosen them to serve as representatives.
California law imposes a duty of transparency and disclosure on elected officials, because a complete and accurate understanding of our representatives is necessary for us, as citizens, to give our informed consent and to prevent conflicts of interest.
We consider today’s request for an investigation to be all the more necessary because local newspapers suffering economic duress often lack the resources and headcount to provide the level of scrutiny that we, as citizens, need of our elected officials. For too many Californians, inadequate local media coverage combines with low voter engagement to deliver inevitable candidates who have not been properly vetted.
We, as citizens, have the power and the duty to step up and provide that scrutiny when nobody else can or will.
Ms. Garcia is one of 120 state legislators in California, all of whom should be held to the highest standards of conduct. There can be no accountability without transparency. We encourage California residents – indeed, residents of any state – to demand transparency and accountability from their elected officials at all levels of government – from their local City Council chamber all the way to the Oval Office.