LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Rep. Janice Hahn, a candidate for the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, may have to refund more than $280,000 in contributions from political action committees after county election officials alleged her committee may have violated campaign finance rules.
The former Los Angeles city councilwoman is running for the seat being vacated by county Supervisor Don Knabe. She is competing in a run-off with Knabe aide and former Manhattan Beach Councilman Steve Napolitano.
Napolitano’s campaign obtained a copy of a letter sent by the county registrar’s office to Hahn notifying her of the possible campaign finance violation and shared it with the Los Angeles Times, who first reported on the alleged campaign finance violations.
A spokesman for the registrar confirmed that the office had sent the letter and said Hahn’s campaign was given 30 days to respond, but declined to comment further.
In the Aug. 10 letter, County Registrar Dean Logan wrote that Hahn had exceeded the county’s cap on the total amount a campaign committee may accept from political action committees, which is $150,000 per election, The Times reported. From Jan. 1, 2015, through June 30, 2016, Hahn’s campaign received $439,619 from political action committees, the registrar said.
The registrar’s letter told Hahn that the “possible violation may be cured without penalty” if the campaign returns the money within 30 days of being notified of the issue.
Napolitano told The Times that Hahn had committed a “serious violation of the county’s ethics laws.”
“Janice Hahn is the poster girl of L.A. city’s entitled political elite, so her campaign knew or should have known about these rules,” he told the newspaper.
Hahn’s campaign said it had been told that campaign finance limits were lifted because Napolitano had elected to largely self-fund his own campaign, The Times reported.
Napolitano has contributed almost $1.4 million to his own campaign to date. His campaign and Hahn’s have each raised about $1.7 million in total to date.
The campaign for the fourth district seat has already grown tense.
In recent weeks, the Napolitano camp hinted that Janice Hahn’s campaign may have coordinated the stealing of a Napolitano campaign sign in San Pedro.
“It appears to be a coordinated pattern of thefts and vandalism,” Napolitano’s camp said in a press release. “This is a disturbing trend from the Hahn campaign and it appears to be continuing into the general election.”
The Hahn camp strongly denied that a woman caught stealing a Napolitano sign on video had anything to do with her campaign.
“The woman depicted in the video does not work for Janice Hahn,” a spokesperson for the Hahn campaign said. “We strongly condemn any action that prevents voters from expressing their political views or preferences.”
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