A city announcement said Dan Miles, Gerrie Schipske and Nicholas Liddi, who are running for auditor, barrister and prosecutor respectively, said they lent too much money to their own campaigns when filing for their contribution reports to the City Clerk last week. .
The limit on city office loans is $15,000, but campaign finance disclosures showed Miles loaned his campaign $20,000, Liddi loaned $34,100 and Schipske loaned $50,000. . They could be forced to pay fines of up to three times the amount of the illegal loan, according to the city attorney’s office.
Miles and Liddi are seeking to replace the longtime incumbents, and Schipske is running against an incumbent-endorsed candidate in the June 7 primary.
To avoid potential conflicts of interest when enforcing campaign rules like this, the city has contracted an outside law firm, Best, Best & Krieger, to monitor the election while a current member of the city attorney’s office, Dawn McIntosh, is running for city attorney. .
City Attorney Charlie Parkin said Friday he understands the company will pursue the monetary penalties against the candidates. Miles could have to pay up to $15,000; Liddi’s penalty could reach $57,300 and Schipske’s, $105,000.
“If someone gives themselves that kind of meaningful advantage, it hurts the whole process and goes against what the voters wanted,” said Parkin, who is not seeking re-election but supported Schipske’s opponent, McIntosh, in the race.
Schipske and Miles acknowledged the error, but said their respective loans were only supposed to be for $15,000, with the remaining amounts listed as a contribution. All of Liddi’s contribution was meant to be a donation, according to his campaign team.
Miles, in a statement, said his campaign treasurer mistakenly deposited a check for $10,000 as a loan when it was supposed to be a donation. Schipske and Liddi said similar situations occurred in his case.
A statement from David Gould, who is Miles and Liddi’s treasurer, said Liddi’s error was due to a clerical error which has been corrected, adding that it was “not Liddi’s fault”. .
There is no limit to the amount candidates can spend on their campaigns in the form of non-refundable payments.
Schipske said Friday she doubts the city will prevail in any civil action. “It was an error in a file that was made about four working days ago and it has been corrected.”
Schipske, a two-term council member and longtime critic of City Hall since leaving office in 2014, called the city’s announcement political theater.
Schipske recently filed a lawsuit against the city over transfers from Measure M to the city’s general fund. The city lost the case and must repay $30.8 million to the water utility by September and will now have $9 million less in its annual general fund going forward.
Liddi echoed that sentiment, saying “candidates who challenge well-established incumbents” were “unfairly targeted by potential enforcement action.”
The city taking action like this doesn’t have much precedent. The law passed voters in 1994 and Parkin, who has served as a city attorney since 2013, did not recall his office issuing a notice like this in the past.
Parkin pushed back against Schipske’s claim that the enforcement action announcement was politically motivated.
“If someone is cynical, they might say that,” he said, adding that this type of action will be taken against anyone who violates the city’s campaign finance laws.
The June 7 primary is just over a month away, but mail-in ballots are expected to be delivered to homes across the county on May 9. Parkin said there was no timeline for when a decision could be announced if the fines are actually imposed on the contestants.
The fines would be paid into the city’s campaign reform account, which is used to administer the Proposition M law of 1994 passed by Long Beach voters that created new guidelines for municipal elections in Long Beach.
Editor’s note: This story has been updated with a statement from Liddi and a statement from Liddi’s campaign treasurer, David Gould.