County supervisor Katrina Foley was fined $1,800 by the state’s campaign finance watchdog for failing to properly disclose tickets to Chargers games she received in 2017. 

Staff from the Fair Political Practices Commission, the state’s chief overseers of campaign finance laws, say the free tickets never led to any conflict of interest. 

To read a copy of the commission’s fine, click here

Foley was unaware a decision had been made on the case when contacted by Voice of OC, but she declined to speak on the issue, saying she was going into a library board meeting. 

In a statement on Tuesday afternoon said she’d failed to report the tickets within the 30 day window required by the commission. 

“When I was made aware of the error, I immediately paid the full value of the tickets and worked with the FPPC to comply with all reporting requirements,” Foley said in a text to Voice of OC. 

She added that it was always her intention to pay for the tickets herself out of pocket, but missed the deadline to properly disclose the tickets. 

“It was late which is the reason for the fine,” Foley said. 

After publication, Foley reached out again to reporters to offer more details on how the tickets came to be. 

The violation happened while Foley was mayor of Costa Mesa in 2017, over three years before she ran in a special election for a seat on the OC Board of Supervisors. 

The tickets came after the Chargers announced they’d be moving to the city in Jan. 2017, and that they had to go through the city for permits to make improvements to their office space. 

Commission staff noted that Foley did not make any attempt to conceal the gifted tickets, and that it never resulted in a conflict of interest in their review. 

The commission said there were two instances where Foley received tickets to a Chargers game. 

She said it was a total of four tickets.

Voice of OC reached out to FPPC officials on Thursday morning asking how many tickets were used, which was not clear in the disclosures. 

As of late Thursday morning, FPPC officials had yet to respond. 

According to Foley’s disclosures she filed with the city in 2018, she received tickets once from the team in Sept. 2017, which she stated had a total value of $470. 

To read a copy of the disclosure, click here

The total value of the first two tickets was actually $762 according to the commission, a fact she said she was unaware of because the Chargers didn’t tell her the total value of the tickets until March the following year.

“We learned the value of those and we were back and forth with the Chargers, it went beyond the 30 days,” Foley said in an interview with Voice of OC on Thursday morning. “I just put the full amount trying to be as transparent as possible with the information I had at the time.”

By full amount, Foley was referring to the legal maximum for gifts of $470. 

“I think that it’s a failing to timely disclose the full value of the tickets is really what it was,” she continued. “Because I actually disclosed the tickets.” 

On New Year’s Eve that year, she says she purchased two tickets for herself and her husband to a Chargers game, worth $862. 

Foley said she was fined by the commission for not ever disclosing those tickets, despite the fact that she claims to have paid for them out of pocket. 

Foley was fined $1,600 for the tickets exceeding the gift limits, and an additional $200 for failing to report the second batch of tickets within the 30 day window required by law according to the commission’s statements. 

She filed an amended version of her ticket disclosures with the city in April. 

To view the amended disclosure, click here

Foley’s failure to properly disclose the tickets comes just as similar questions about tickets have surfaced in Anaheim, where city council members regularly receive and distribute hundreds of tickets from the Anaheims and Ducks each year. 

Read: Anaheim Politicians Shower Staff, Campaign Donors with Free Event Tickets

Robert Dickson, a former candidate for Costa Mesa City Council and one of the people who asked the FPPC to investigate the tickets, did not return requests for comment on Tuesday morning. 

Noah Biesiada is a Voice of OC reporter and corps member with Report for America, a GroundTruth initiative. Contact him at or on Twitter @NBiesiada. 


Since you’ve made it this far,

You obviously care about local news and value good journalism. As an independent and local nonprofit, our news is accessible to all, regardless of what they can afford, but it’s not free to produce. Help us become 100% reader funded with a tax deductible donation. For as little as $5 a month you can help us reach that goal.

Join the conversation: In lieu of comments, we encourage readers to engage with us across a variety of mediums. Join our Facebook discussion. Message us via our website or staff page. Send us a secure tip. Share your thoughts in a community opinion piece.