The California Fair Political Practices Commission has determined that a candidate for political office may include their campaign debt on a personal bankruptcy statement and successfully discharge it.
A few weeks ago Voice of OC reported that former Anaheim City Council candidate John Karczynski discharged his 2008 campaign debt of $41,585, which received some scrutiny from local campaign finance watchdog Shirley Grindle.
Grindle notified the FPPC about Karczynski’s situation, saying that she believed he violated state campaign finance laws regarding the commingling of personal and campaign funds.
The FPPC, however, ruled otherwise. “A candidate may be personally liable for his/her campaign debt,” the agency wrote to Grindle.
Grindle accepted the FPPC’s ruling, but thinks he is still in violation of Anaheim city election codes because he received campaign services that he did not pay for.
“I believe this to be equivalent to an ‘in-kind’ contribution which is subject to the Anaheim contribution limit,” Grindle wrote in an email.
She plans on taking up the issue with the Anaheim city attorney. Her question remains: “Was it the intent of the candidate John K. to receive these services without paying for them?”
— SPENCER CUSTODIO