The California Fair Political Practices Commission next week is expected to fine Newport Beach City Council candidate Jeff Herdman $200 for failing to submit a mandatory form before soliciting and accepting campaign donations.
Bob McCaffrey, a Balboa Island resident, filed a complaint with the commission in November alleging that Herdman violated the state Political Reform Act by not filing a candidate intention statement, also known as Form 501, before soliciting campaign donations.
In his complaint, McCaffrey pointed to an Oct. 27 email from Little Balboa Island resident Ken Yonkers to neighbors in which Yonkers appeared to be helping get the word out about Herdman’s campaign and gave direction on how to donate funds.
“Jeff communicated with me that he has met with his campaign manager and his campaign is off and running,” Yonkers wrote in the email. “He is in need of some funds now.”
Herdman filed Form 501 with the Newport Beach city clerk’s office on Nov. 5, according to city records.
Herdman, a retired educator, is seeking the District 5 council seat representing Balboa Island and the Fashion Island area. Businessman Lee Lowrey and businessman and activist Mike Glenn also are vying for the seat. McCaffrey said he is supporting Lowrey in the election.
According to the Fair Political Practices Commission’s Oct. 20 meeting agenda, senior commission counsel Angela Brereton and special investigator Jay Martin concluded during an agency investigation over the past several months that Herdman solicited and received contributions before filing his Form 501, a violation of state government code 85200.
The investigators recommended a $200 fine.
Herdman said Monday that he was notified of the findings about two weeks ago and mailed a $200 check to the commission. The five-member body could vote against fining him during its meeting, but typically, the commission upholds staff’s recommendations, according to a commission spokesman.
Herdman said he was under the impression that he wasn’t required to file Form 501 until he had raised $1,999 and that he was under that threshold when he submitted his paperwork.
“I was misled about that, but I’m not going to lay blame on anyone,” he said. “As far as I’m concerned, it’s minor and obviously was not intentional.”
Herdman could contest the findings through an administrative hearing but said he would not pursue it.
“I don’t have time to contest it,” he said. “I’m putting all my effort into campaigning.”