Councilman will repay city excess in spending

The Associated Press
Wednesday January 09, 2002

LOS ANGELES — City Council President Alex Padilla has agreed to repay more than $76,000 to the city for exceeding spending and contribution limits in the 1999 election, officials said. 

Padilla also will pay $2,500 in fines for accepting two campaign contributions in excess of a $500 limit. The money owed by Padilla comes after an Ethics Commission investigation, the third of its kind into the council member’s 1999 campaign. In 1999, the commission fined the political arm of the Los Angeles County of Federation of Labor $2,000 for not disclosing $31,000 it spent on a campaign backing Padilla. A year later, the commission fined cable company MediaOne for excessive campaign contributions to candidates, including Padilla. 

The agreement signed by Padilla and LeeAnn Pelham, executive director of the ethics panel, still needs approval by the commission Thursday. If approved, the agreement would be the largest payment made in a settlement since the commission was created. 

Padilla apologized to his colleagues and constituents Monday. 

“It was not my intent or the intent of my campaign to exceed the spending cap,” he said. “Exceeding the spending cap . . . was a mistake on my part and on the part of my 1999 campaign committee.” 

His campaign committee received matching funds from the city in exchange for agreeing not to spend more than $275,000 in the 1999 election. A commission audit found he exceeded that limit by $54,738. Now, he must repay the city $76,821. 

Padilla said invoices for services that were submitted after the election pushed his campaign over the spending limits. 

Padilla won the 1999 runoff election with 67 percent of the vote against health agency administrator Corinne Sanchez, who spent $126,574 in the race.