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The state Fair Political Practices Commission issued a $55,000 fine Thursday against the Latino Builders Industry Association for laundering $2,600 in campaign donations to candidates in Chula Vista and San Diego.

The Latino Builders made donations to former San Diego City Councilman Ralph Inzunza, Assemblyman Juan Vargas, former Chula Vista Mayor Steve Padilla, Chula Vista City Councilman Steve Castaneda and three others by using other peoples’ names, the FPPC found.

The association, a business trade group led by executive director Jose Mireles, did not contest the case at the FPPC. Mireles donated to the candidates, then reimbursed employees who also donated to them, the FPPC found.

“Making campaign contributions in other than one’s own name is one of the most serious violations of the [state Political Reform] Act,” the FPPC wrote in its case against the association. “It undermines one of the basic purposes of disclosing important information to the voting public regarding the true source of campaign support and contributions.”

ROB DAVIS

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