Calexico City Mayor Fined For Violating Political Election Laws

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Luis Castro appointed Calexico City Mayor
Calexico City Mayor Luis Castro

CALEXICO – The Enforcement Division of the California Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) entered into a stipulation agreement with Calexico Mayor Luis Castro in the amount of $7,000, for three violation counts of the Political Reform Act election laws from his 2012  city council re-election campaign.

The FPPC cites Luis Castro, Committee to Elect Luis Castro for City Council Member 2012, and Ana Castro for three violations which include failure to use a single, designated campaign bank account, unlawful cash contributions and expenditures of $100 or more, and failure to timely file pre-election campaign statements.

Luis Castro has served as a Calexico City Councilman since 2008. In 2012, he successfully sought re-election. Committee to Elect Luis Castro for Calexico City Council Member 2012 was his candidate controlled committee, and his wife, Ana Castro, was his treasurer.

During the 2012 election year, Castro and his committee accepted and received numerous contributions that never were deposited into the committee’s bank account. These funds were used to pay numerous committee expenditures that should have been paid from the committee account. These contributions and expenditures were in amounts of $100 or more, and they were made in cash. The full extent of the committee’s receipts and expenditures is unknown because the Castros (Luis and Ana Castro) failed to maintain required committee records; they failed to use a single, designated campaign bank account for committee receipts and expenditures; and they unlawfully dealt in cash. Also, they failed to file two pre-election campaign statements that were due before the election, according to the report filed  of Stipulation, Decision and Order.

Castro, his committee, and Mrs. Castro received from various entities, and accepted in excess of $5,800, but never deposited the funds into the committee’s bank account. These funds were used to pay numerous committee expenditures to various entities in excess of $4,700, which should have been paid from the committee’s bank account, and were not, according to the FPPC settlement.

The Political Reform Act stipulates that no campaign contributions of $100 or more may be made or received in cash-and no campaign expenditure of $100 or more may be made in cash.

Additionally, according to the FPPC settlement, for the period of time spanning July 1 – October 20, 2012, known receipts and expenditures for Castro’s committee totalled in excess of $6,200 and $6,000. Based on the activity, Castro, his committee, and Mrs. Castro were required to file a pre-election campaign statement with the Calexico City Clerk for the period ending September 30, 2012 and by the deadline of October 5, 2012, however they failed to do so. Additionally, they were required to file a pre-election campaign statement with the Calexico City Clerk for the period ending October 20, 2012, by the deadline of October 25, 2016, but they again failed to do so.

The Political Reform Act defines a “committee” to include any person (or combination of persons) who receives contributions totaling $1,000 or more in a calendar year, and requires them to file campaign statements and reports for certain reporting periods and by certain deadlines.

Failure to use a single, designated campaign bank account resulted in a $2,000 penalty, unlawful cash contributions and expenditures of $100 or more also resulted in another $2,000 penalty, while failure to timely file pre-election statements resulted in a $3,000 fine, bringing total penalties to $7,000, according to the FPPC settlement.

Both the FPPC Enforcement Division and Luis Castro, Committee to Elect Luis Castro for Calexico City Council Member 2012, and Ana Castro, agreed to submit the FPPC settlement for consideration to the Fair Political Practices Commission to either approve or deny the settlement during its next regular scheduled meeting scheduled for October 20.