Local Watchdog Calls Nelson Violation ‘an Oversight’

Local political watchdog Shirley Grindle said Tuesday that she regrets filing a complaint against Fourth District Supervisor candidate Shawn Nelson regarding his failure to file his list of financial holdings on time.

"I wish I had called Nelson directly," Grindle said. "I usually give people a chance to correct these things -- I believe this is just an oversight."

Earlier this year, Grindle filed a complaint against Nelson with the California Fair Political Practices Commission. The commission warned the 4th District Supervisor candidate that he violated the state's Political Reform Act.

The law requires candidates and office holders to file Statements of Economic Interest so the public can know of any potential conflicts of interest.

In an April 6 letter to Nelson, the FPPC said "your actions violated the (Political Reform) Act" because he should have filed his statement by March 12 but "only filed your statement on March 22, 2010, after you learned that a sworn complaint (by Grindle) was filed against you."

There are no fines or other actions associated with warning letters.

Nelson, a lawyer and Fullerton city councilman, said today he knew he had to file his annual city conflict form by April 1 and didn't realize the state had an earlier deadline.

"I had April 1 in my mind," he said. Besides, he added, before the economic interests deadline he spent 45 minutes with the staff of the Orange County Registrar of Voters and they never told him his economic interest statement was missing.

"Someone there cleared me to go," he said. Nelson said that later on, Grindle "told someone else" that she was alerted by a worker in the Registrar of Voters office that Nelson hadn't filed.

Grindle said she received an anonymous tip regarding Nelson's filing.

Nelson said that when the FPPC told him his filing was late "I faxed it to them that day."

"This letter serves as a written warning," it continued. "The information in this matter will be retained and may be considered should an enforcement action become necessary based on newly discovered information or future conduct."



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