Aanestad fined, Logue cleared by state | TheUnion.com

Aanestad fined, Logue cleared by state

One lawmaker representing Nevada County has been fined by the state of California for unfair political practices, while another has been cleared of charges after an investigation.

State Sen. Sam Aanestad, R-Grass Valley, has agreed to pay a $200 fine for failing to disclose the gift of a free ticket to a George Strait concert from the Pechanga Band of Luiseno Indians of Southern California.

Assemblyman Dan Logue, R-Linda, has been cleared of allegations of wrongdoing after he voted to approve contracts for businesses, while he was a member of a Yuba County levee panel, that had contributed to his campaign.

In the Aanestad case, “it was an oversight on the senator’s part,” said spokesman Bill Bird on Tuesday. “This is the first time in his career this has happened, and it won’t happen again.”

The $56.25 ticket was given to Aanestad in 2008, and he neglected to report it in a timely manner, Bird said. All gifts of $10 or more must be reported to the state’s Fair Political Practices Committee.

People who give gifts to state legislators file reports with the FPPC. Gift-givers normally send reminder letters to their recipients for their annual reports to the panel, but they are not required to do so, Bird said.

The Luiseno band did not send such a letter, and Aanestad forgot to include the gift on his 2008 report to the FPPC, which found the discrepancy, Bird said.

Bird did not know where the concert was.

“In no way was he attempting to hide anything at all,” Bird said. “This has nothing to do with any votes. Legislators can be prosecuted for that.”

Whenever people come in to discuss legislative issues and mention money in the same conversation, it is standing policy in Aanestad’s office to ask them to leave immediately, Bird said.

“The ticket was not in exchange for anything at all,” Bird said. The Union was unable to reach Aanestad.

The Pechanga Band of Luiseno Indians is a tribe with a 14-story resort hotel with 522 rooms and an 85,000 square-foot casino just outside of Temecula in Southern California.

Aanestad’s case was confirmed by FPPC Executive Director Roman Porter, who said the senator agreed to pay a $200 fine. The FPPC board will approve or reject the agreement at its Feb. 11 meeting, and agreements are rarely denied, Porter said.

A complaint filed with the FPPC against Logue has been closed.

The complaint was filed by Rex Archer, who lost to Logue in a race for Yuba County supervisor in 2006.

Archer alleged that Logue took campaign contributions from people or firms and then cast votes giving them contracts or other entitlements while a member of the Yuba County Three Rivers Levee Improvement Authority board from 2004 to 2006.

In a Jan. 3 letter to Logue closing the case, the FPPC said, “Our investigation revealed that even though you did receive various campaign contributions from those entities, none of the relevant votes met all the elements necessary to find a violation.”

Specific documents on the subject and the criteria for determining violations were not available Tuesday, according to Porter. The Union is filing a California Public Records Act request for the documents.

The Associated Press and the Marysville Appeal-Democrat staff contributed to this report. To contact Senior Staff Writer Dave Moller, e-mail dmoller@theunion.com, or call (530) 477-4237.

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