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The city’s ethics ordinance prohibits campaigns from soliciting donations specifically from city employees. Violating the ordinance can bring a fine as high as $5,000 per incident.
The law has an exception for candidates who are sending a broad solicitation and don’t know that a city official is on the list.
Graham gave Gloria’s campaign a $150 donation in December 2007, but did not donate after receiving those e-mails.
Gloria said that he was unaware that any CCDC employees were on his list.
When putting together an e-mail list of possible supporters, Gloria said his campaign made an effort to purge all e-mail addresses that ended in .gov, the designation for most city employees. CCDC’s e-mail addresses end in .com, as the organization acts as separate arm of the city focused on downtown redevelopment. Gloria said those addresses slipped through but have since been removed from his mailing list.
The San Diego Ethics Commission recently fined City Councilman-elect Carl DeMaio $1,500 for inviting 90 city employees to a fundraiser; Rich Geisler, a Southeastern Economic Development Corp. board member, was fined $500 for a similar violation after inviting ousted SEDC President Carolyn Smith to a Marti Emerald fundraiser.
City Attorney Mike Aguirre was similarly fined yesterday for soliciting city employees, and the Ethics Commission settlement appeared to chalk up the solicitations as accidental.
Gloria said his solicitation was “an oversight by my campaign.”
“My list is extremely long,” he said. “It was never targeted to Ms. Graham or anyone at CCDC. It was part of an e-mail to my entire list, a sizeable number of people.”
Graham’s e-mails were obtained through a California Public Records Act request.