Former Nevada County candidate for Board of Supervisors faces $5K penalty
The state Fair Political Practices Commission on Thursday fined former Nevada County supervisorial candidate Michael Rogers $5,000 for failing to file a pre-election statement, the maximum amount allowed for the offense.
Rogers, who ran in 2012 for the District 5 seat, failed to respond the following year to a verbal request from the Nevada County clerk and two letters from the commission’s Enforcement Division about the statement. In October 2015, Rogers said he’d file the statement, though he claimed days later he had no requirement to submit the paperwork, FPPC documents state.
“Rogers and his Committee have not demonstrated good faith in resolving this matter,” an FPPC exhibit states. “The County Clerk and the Enforcement Division made numerous unsuccessful requests that Rogers and the Committee file their outstanding statement, but Rogers has never complied.
“Rogers’ and his committee’s lack of cooperation in this matter should be given equal weight in assessing a penalty of $5,000,” the document states.
Contacted after Thursday’s commission vote, Rogers said he won’t pay the fine. He disagrees with the commission’s interpretation of election law, adding there’s no requirement to file paperwork when the candidate contributes his own money.
“I guess this is civil disobedience,” Rogers said. “We live in a corrupt nation. Maybe if I go to jail, someone will care about it.”
The FPPC can pursue liens on property and tax returns, as well as court action, against people who refuse to pay, said Jay Wierenga, FPPC communications manager.
The commission on Thursday placed Rogers’ complaint onto its consent calendar, meaning they approved several, unrelated issues in one vote. Commissioners had little discussion before approving the items.
Rogers ran for supervisor of the large, eastern portion of Nevada County. He withdrew from the race weeks before the election and endorsed Richard Anderson, the current District 5 supervisor.
The first letter to Rogers came from the Nevada County clerk in January 2013, notifying him of his failure to file the pre-election statement. The clerk sent a second letter in March 2013 and contacted Rogers verbally the following month. It then sent the matter to the commission’s Enforcement Division, according to FPPC records.
Enforcement followed up with letters in September and October 2013. Two years later, in October 2015, it contacted Rogers a final time.
“Rogers explained that work was preventing him from traveling the long distance to the County Clerk’s office, but he said it was possible to file it by Friday,” documents state.
According to records, Rogers contacted the Enforcement Division about a week later and said he wouldn’t file the paperwork. He didn’t qualify as a committee because he contributed his own money and that meant he had no requirement to file the documents.
Staff told Rogers that the source of the money was irrelevant and that he was required to file once he received over $1,000, reports state.
FPPC staff then recommended the $5,000 penalty when Rogers failed in November to file his paperwork.
To contact Staff Writer Alan Riquelmy, email email@example.com or call 530-477-4239.
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