District Attorney Announces Campaign Season Enforcement Activities

Criminal Complaint Filed Related to West Sacramento Campaign for Mayor

Press Release

(Woodland, CA) – October 9, 2018 – The Yolo County District Attorney’s Office announced that it has been actively involved in monitoring local elections and campaign-related activities as part of its statutory enforcement obligations under the California Political Reform Act and related local ordinances. The laws, which were designed to ensure public trust in the electoral process, improve transparency in campaign related activities and limit certain types of contributions and expenditures, apply to state and local officials, candidates and elections, in varying degrees.

With the November 6th election less than a month away, the District Attorney’s office has collaborated with elections officials from local cities and Yolo County to gather facts and investigate alleged violations of the law. These include candidate residency claims, campaign finance violations and improper conflicts of interest by elected officials and candidates for public office.

In addition to the criminal and civil enforcement of such laws by the District Attorney, the California Fair Political Practices Commission has broad administrative powers of oversight and enforcement over all such matters.

Many of the campaign-related complaints received and investigated by the DA’s office are resolved with warnings. According to Chief Deputy District Attorney Jonathan Raven, “Our primary goal in this complex area is compliance with the laws. Experience has shown that many of the alleged violations, especially those committed by local candidates for municipal offices, are based on inexperience or inadvertence. For many, a warning and immediate correction usually suffices. However, significant or ongoing violations of the California Political Reform Act or local ordinances can pose real threats to the integrity of elections, and are taken seriously and prosecuted.”

Today, a criminal complaint alleging violations of state and local laws was filed against Maria Grijalva, 59, of West Sacramento. The complaint alleges campaign finance violations related to contributions and expenditures she made in connection with the mayoral race in the City of West Sacramento, which will appear on the November 6th ballot. Grijalva is also a current candidate for Yolo County Board of Education, Trustee Area 1, and had previously run for elective office in 2016 in the City of West Sacramento.

The Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) requires certain official documents be filed regarding campaign money raised or spent by a candidate in connection with election to office. The complaint alleges that in October of 2018, Grijalva, as shown on her FPPC filings, contributed funds from her own candidate-controlled school board account to produce a mail piece, with a reported value of over six thousand dollars, supporting Joe DeAnda, a candidate for mayor in the City of West Sacramento. An ordinance in the City of West Sacramento prohibits anyone from contributing more than $250, increased to $500 in certain situations, to any candidate for local elected office. In addition to the violation of the West Sacramento City Ordinance, the complaint also alleges that state law was violated by the same conduct and for another expenditure on an earlier date.

A conviction of this law could result in fines, jail time and a prohibition of being a candidate for public office for up to four years.

There was no evidence suggesting that mayoral candidate Joe DeAnda had any involvement with Grijalva, nor that his campaign violated any law.

Complaints related to state or local elections can be reported to the Yolo County District Attorney’s Public Integrity Unit by email at: District.Attorney@yolocounty.org or by phone at: (530) 666-8999 or to the California Fair Political Practices Commission.

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