California’s political watchdog has levied fines totaling $3,000 against Westminster Councilwoman Margie Rice and her daughter, Planning Commissioner Anita Rice, for, among other things, failing to properly disclose the cost of 20,000 mailers they jointly sent out during this year’s campaign.
A double-sided mailer that promoted both Rice and her daughter sent to Westminster households on Oct. 11 failed to include boilerplate language disclosing the source of funding for the campaign literature, according to the state Fair Political Practices Commission.
The campaign committees of Margie Rice, who unsuccessfully ran for Westminster Mayor in November; and Anita Rice, who lost her bid for the board of the Midway Sanitary District, split the nearly $1,400 cost to print the mailers. But neither their names nor their campaign committees were listed on the mailer as required by state law.
Additionally, Margie Rice’s campaign committee paid another $3,370 in postage and other costs, but failed to report half that amount as an in-kind donation to Anita Rice’s campaign for the sanitary district.
Since Anita Rice benefited from one side of the mailer, the expenditure by her mother’s campaign committee should have been reported as a contribution, according to an FPPC document detailing the violations.
Margie Rice self-reported the disclosure issues to the FPPC the day she received the mailer at home and said it was an inadvertent oversight, according to the document.
The fine is still subject to approval by the agency’s board of commissioners at their next meeting on Dec. 15.
During the campaign, the political blog OCDaily.net, run by political consultant Matt Cunningham, criticized the mother-daughter mailer.
Correction: A previous version of this story may have suggested Cunningham was paid to write a post criticizing Rice’s mass mailer. The post was written by contributor Michael Nguyen, and Cunningham says he was not paid.
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