Ex-Senate leader Dean Florez faces fines for misusing campaign funds
November 04, 2013
Then-state Senate Majority Leader Dean Florez (D-Shafter) speaks at a public hearing in 2009.
Then-state Senate Majority Leader Dean Florez (D-Shafter) speaks at a… (Stefano Paltera / For The…)
SACRAMENTO -- Former California Senate Majority Leader Dean Florez faces record fines for campaign violations that include using $26,541 in political funds for his personal benefit to buy furniture, concert tickets, fireworks, satellite radio, travel, expensive dinners and gasoline.
Florez, a Democrat who represented a San Joaquin Valley district until 2010, has agreed to pay $60,000 in fines, according to documents released Monday by the state Fair Political Practices Commission.
The ethics agency found that Florez made 168 personal purchases from campaign committees he set up for an abandoned 2010 run for lieutenant governor and a 2014 candidacy for state controller.
The penalty is “the largest fine in California history” involving personal use of campaign funds, according to Gary Winuk, chief of enforcement for the FPPC.
In all, Florez admitted to 12 counts of violating campaign rules, including failure to return $247,000 he had raised for his lieutenant governor campaign after he abandoned it three months before the June 2010 primary.
“The failure by a candidate to refund contributions meant for a campaign that the candidate never participated in is a serious violation of the act, as it undermines the public’s trust that their contributions will be used appropriately,” said a report by the FPPC staff.
The commission is scheduled to meet Nov. 14 to consider the penalty agreed to between Florez and the FPPC enforcement staff.
Florez, an investment banker before his election, spent $6,700 in campaign funds on gasoline for personal driving as well as on purchases at Ikea, Best Buy, Wal-Mart, Home Depot, Beck’s Furniture and Bed Bath & Beyond determined not to be legitimate campaign expenses, the FPPC report said.
The report does not identify which travel was deemed personal, but during the period investigated, Florez tapped his campaigns for trips to Chicago, New York, Houston, Santa Monica, Las Vegas and Washington, D.C.
He also spent money on a yearlong subscription to SiriusXM satellite radio, monthly parking passes, a golf shirt and Internet, cable TV and phone bills unrelated to his campaign, the report said.
This article states he knew what he was doing was illegal. He didn't return $247K in donations. He spent $27K of donations on 168 personal items. $50K of the $60K fine, the largest in the history of California, came from his own pocket. He had his campaign fund pay the rest. Florez had this to say "Florez, in an email to The Californian Monday, acknowledged his mistakes and said they came because he misunderstood the rules governing the use of campaign funds." I'm not a politician but I know that campaign contributions cannot be spent on private ski vacations, a golf shirt, expensive meals, private jets... Florez was an investment banker, Harvard business school graduate, political science major at UCLA. Many commenters on the many articles all said he should have been sent to prison. Here in Cali if you stead $400 or more, it's considered grant theft and you go to jail. Dean Florez stole $247K and $27K. He didn't return any of the money he stole. He paid a fine to the committee that oversees campaign contributions. This is not even the first time he's been fined. He has previous fines. I will bet he's using 20 MM credit cards for personal purchases.He ass kisses Gary, pays people to write nice articles about him, says 20 MM is really needed, is helping a lot, just so he can milk money out of Gary for a job. I doubt anyone else would have hired him. No one would want to hire a thief who also lies.
What is really ironic is he pretends to be the grandson of a produce picker from Mexico. His family has been in the US two generations more than mine. He says his grandfather and grandmother were farm laborers but that's not true. In the census they list different jobs. They also list different jobs in old directories. His grandmother did not work according to the census. Did she work and not pay taxes or did she just not work? Hard to believe anything politicians say.
Another article goes over the many expensive cars Dean Florez forced the state to buy, lease for him.
Then he had a crash on a Saturday when the senate was out. He had the state pay for that as well.
I'm sure he was probably squeezing every penny he could get out of the state. I did notice that he used his contacts with Governor Brown to meet with him to discuss 20 MM. I'm sure he did that to try to make 20 MM seem like a legitimate cause or organization. He's also trying to rationalize his usefulness to Gary Michelson.
More info on Dean Florez. Here is his statement of economic interests. He made between $10K and $100K a year as a consultant. His wife is a fundraising consultant.
Here is the stipulation and final order.
Dean Florez failed to return $247K in campaign contributions. He instead put the money into another fund then spent it all. Gary Michelson said he did background checks on all his employees. He obviously didn't research this thief, embezzler, liar, someone who committed perjury. He went to UCLA and Harvard. He was a politician for many years. He said he just didn't know how campaign finance worked. He admitted he used a campaign credit card to pay for a private jet so he could go skiing with his family. He bought concert tickets to Lady Gaga, expensive meals...
Here you can see what he paid for with campaign funds. He even gave money to his mother.
And here are photos of Dean Florez, the private plane he rented and on a ski trip with his family most likely all paid for by campaign donations. This is from 2010 when he ran for Lieutenant Governor. Dean Florez posted these photos himself on his campaign website.
|Dean Florez uses campaign funds to rent a private jet to go skiing|
|Dean Florez, wife Elsa Florez and daughter skiing in Utah paid for with campaign contributions|
Dean Florez admits to 11 counts of using campaign funds for personal purchases. He is fined $5K per each count.
"In the Matter of Dean Florez, Dean Florez for Lt. Governor 2010, and Dean Florez for
State Controller 2014, FPPC No.12/213: Respondent Dean Florez spent $26,541.80 in
campaign funds from two candidate-controlled committees to purchase personal items
not related to a governmental, legislative, or political purposes. On November 14, 2013,
the Commission approved a stipulated decision wereby Florez admitted to eleven counts
of personal use of campaign funds and agreed to pay a penalty of $5,000 per count."
Dean Florez forgot to disclaim that he gets money from 20 Million Minds. This is actually pretty major. Dean Florez used his political position to have meetings with politicians and the Governor about 20 Million Minds which is a private foundation. Here he blames it on his assistant.
FORMER SENATE MAJORITY LEADER
Misuse of Campaign Funds
Following a Franchise Tax Board audit and subsequent
investigation by the FPPC, the Enforcement Division
discovered former Senate Majority Leader Dean
Florez improperly made 168 purchases using funds
from campaign committees he had initiated for a 2010
campaign for Lieutenant Governor and a 2014 race
for State Controller. After failing to refund $247,000 in
donations from his abandoned Lieutenant Governor
campaign, Florez utilized campaign funds to purchase
personal items including gasoline, furniture, utility bills,
dog food, and airline tickets, totaling $6,434.42. For
failure to refund donations from a campaign and for
the improper use of committee funds, Dean Florez
was fined $60,000, the largest fine ever levied for
improperly using campaign money.
It's incredibly ironic than Dean Florez says he's against corruption, unethical behavior but he got the largest fine for unethical, corrupt behavior in the history of the state. I think this is similar to all those anti-homosexual politicians actually being homosexual and picking up tricks in airport bathrooms.
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