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Water board member hit with fines

Posted: October 9, 2009 10:45 p.m.
Updated: October 10, 2009 4:55 a.m.
 

A state commission fined a Newhall County Water District board member this week after finding she violated campaign laws by filing statements late and using her political contributions to cover personal expenses.

Barbara Dore must pay $30,500 to the state, the California Fair Political Practices Commission decided at its Thursday meeting.

Of the 16 fines the commission issued statewide on Thursday, Dore’s was the heftiest.

Commission documents released in June outline a series of offenses between 2005 and 2009. Dore, who was also treasurer for her campaign, missed filing deadlines and spent nearly $2,700 in campaign funds “neither reasonably nor directly related to a political, legislative, or governmental purpose,” the papers said.

Phone messages left to commission officials and to Dore on Friday afternoon were not returned.

Newhall County Water District board President Maria Gutzeit said the fines levied by the commission do not reflect on the district.

“It is our own personal responsibility to handle our campaigns,” she said Friday. “It’s not an issue for the water district.”

Gutzeit, who is in the middle of her own re-election bid, said running a campaign can be a hectic affair. Candidates are often bombarded with back-to-back filing deadlines and must navigate an intricate maze of campaign laws.

“As elected officials, it is our job to know the rules and do things correctly,” she said. “Things like being late or whatever is an easy mistake, but I think the public expects us to not make mistakes.”

NCWD board members receive minimal compensation for their duties. They receive $100 for each meeting they attend for the water board, which typically adds up to about $2,000 a year, Gutzeit said.

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