Attorney General's Office Reaches Agreement With Assemblywoman-Elect for the 65th District Over Campaign Finance Violations
(SACRAMENTO) – The California Attorney General's Office has reached an agreement with Jan Leja, Assembly Member-elect for the 65th Assembly District, for her to plead guilty to two misdemeanor campaign finance reporting violations and not assume office.
Earlier this year, the Riverside County District Attorney and the Fair Political Practices Commission received reliable information about alleged violations of campaign finance reporting laws by Leja in 1999. The district attorney then referred the case to the Attorney General's office for further investigation.
Over the course of the investigation, it was discovered that Leja willfully and knowingly filed false campaign finance statements that inflated reported contributions by more than $146,000 in 1999. The investigation also found that the false reports had the effect of dissuading other potential candidates from entering the race for the the 65th Assembly District. Specifically, Leja falsely reported a $50,000 loan from her husband that was never actually received; falsely reported $37,685 in non-itemized contributions (less than $100) that were never actually received; and, falsely reported $58,325 in itemized contributions (in excess of $100) that were never actually received. The evidence was gathered from search warrants, audits and interviews.
Pursuant to discussions with the Attorney General's Office, Leja has agreed to plead guilty to two misdemeanor violations of Government Code section 84211 [(a) failure to accurately report total amount of campaign contributions, and, (f) failure to accurately report total amount of loans] and to not assume office in the California State Assembly. Leja also has agreed to pay fines for the violations that will be set by the court.
The Attorney General's office intends to file a formal complaint in Riverside Superior Court next week charging Leja with two misdemeanors and seek fines for each violation that can total as much as three times the amount the person failed to properly report. California law prohibits any person who has been convicted of a misdemeanor violation of the Political Reform Act from running for any elective office or lobbying for a period of four years following the date of the conviction. The parties will ask the court to approve the agreement.