District 5 San Diego City Councilman-elect Carl DeMaio was fined $1,500 for sending e-mails city employees inviting them to a fundraiser at his home. The e-mails, which DeMaio sent in April, went out to 7,200 recipients, including 90 City Hall employees.

Richard Geisler, a member of the Southeastern Economic Development Corporation board, was fined $500 for a similar violation. He sent ousted SEDC President Carolyn Smith an e-mail inviting her to a fundraiser for Marti Emerald, who is running for the District 7 City Council seat.

Both DeMaio and Geisler violated a municipal code section that prohibits candidates or campaigns from soliciting campaign contributions from people they know to be city employees. DeMaio mistakenly thought that the solicitations of city employees were permissible because they were part of a larger solicitation, said San Diego Ethics Commission Executive Director Stacey Fulhorst.

The maximum fine for such an infraction is $5,000 per violation. Fulhorst said DeMaio’s fine was significantly less than the maximum because he did not accept any contributions from city employees. And she termed Geisler’s violation “an isolated incident.”

DAVID WASHBURN

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