Dixon City Attorney Violated California Campaign Finance Laws; Failed to File Reports on Time and Accepted Contributions Beyond Legal Limits

An audit by the California Franchise Tax Board found Dixon City Attorney Doug White – serving as the Treasurer for a campaign for State Assemblyman Adam Gray – committed four violations of the California Government Code regarding political campaign finances. The audit also held Gray and his campaign liable and a fine of $8,500 was imposed for the violations. White was serving as Dixon City Attorney in 2014 when the violations occurred.
White also serves as a City Attorney for the cities of Oakdale, Patterson Riverbank and Sonora. Patterson is in the 21st Assembly District. It is highly unusual for a City Attorney to be engaged in partisan politics – especially in an area in which he serves in that capacity.
Gray for Assembly 2014 was a candidate-controlled committee for the November 4, 2014 General Election. Douglas L. White was the Committee’s Treasurer. The violations and fine were revealed last week on August 17 in an “Enforcement Release” by the Fair Political Practices Commissions.
The Committee, Gray, and White failed to timely file one 24-Hour Report for two late independent expenditures, in violation of Government Code Section 84204 (1 count). They also failed to timely file 24-Hour Reports for four late contributions, in violation of Government Code Sections 84203 and 85309, subdivision (a) (1 count). In addition, they failed to timely file one $5,000 contribution report, in violation of Government Code Section 85309, subdivision (c) (1 count). The fourth violation was accepting campaign contributions that exceeded contribution limits, in violation of Government Code Section 85301, subdivision (a) and Regulation 18545, subdivision (a)(1) (1 count).
According to Mike Lynch, spokesman for Assemblyman Gray, “Assemblyman Gray takes full responsibility for these errors done in the name of his committee. The FPPC findings state there was no intent to violate the FPPC guidelines. These were bookkeeping and reporting oversights. Assemblyman Gray has made changes in his committee treasurer and accountant and has established new internal procedures to make sure these errors do not happen again.”
The Churchwell White law firm was retained by the assemblyman’s campaign for the purposes of the audit, according to Lynch
Gray voted for a massive fuel tax and vehicle registration fee hike in the current Legislative Session, totaling an estimated $5.2 Billion. Gray also supported a restriction of Recall procedures to prevent the removal of legislators who voted for the tax hikes. A state court has struck down the retroactive provisions of that change in Recalls.
White’s partner Steve Churchwell served as General Counsel for the Fair Political Practices Commission from 1993 to 2000. White was queried on Friday, Aug 18 via email for a response to this information, but has not responded as of deadline.

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