Petaluma Tomorrow, a local government watchdog group, is fining itself $500 for violating the terms of a clean campaign ordinance they helped put on the books nearly a decade ago.
Earlier this fall, the organization put out a series of flyers excoriating three local candidates for accepting out of town contributions.
‘Why do City Council Candidates Healy, Kearney and Miller worry more about out of town interests than local residents and businesses?’ the ad asked.
‘Because a majority of their contributions are from out of town interests,’ it went on to answer, showing the candidates’ photos along with how much of their overall donations came from contributors not living in Petaluma.
But it appears the group forgot to send a copy of its mailer to the city clerk, in violation of a clean campaign ordinance, which they authored and championed. The ordinance has been in effect since 2004.
“It was an unintentional oversight and we regret it,” said Bill Phillips, a treasurer for the group. “As originators of the ordinance, we try to police the requirements of that ordinance and the FPPC (Fair Political Practices Commission). We decided to send the check because we want to set an example.”
The group is the only one in the history of the ordinance to pay a fine for violating its terms, according to Phillips. The $500 will be deposited into the city’s general fund.