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September 17, 2010 > Letter to the editor: No violation of local campaign finance regulations

Letter to the editor: No violation of local campaign finance regulations

In light of recent news articles and media inquiries regarding the allegations of campaign finance violations brought by Mr. Bill Ferguson, there seems to be a high level of confusion. I would therefore like to reiterate my position and eliminate any confusion.

On August 5, 2010, I issued a letter to Mr. Ferguson indicating that my review of the information submitted by him to me revealed no violation of the Milpitas Municipal Code. As I understand it, Mr. Ferguson also filed a complaint with the FPPC alleging violations of campaign finance laws by Mayor Livengood and City Councilperson Debbie Giordano. I recently received a letter from the FPPC dated September 7, 2010 indicating that no violation of the law had taken place regarding Councilperson Giordano and that the case was closed. I was provided a similar letter regarding Mayor Livengood on September 15, 2010 stating that the FPPC found no violations and was also closing that case. The FPPC's mandate is to review and investigate campaign law violations. As I understand it, the FPPC sought documents and received full cooperation from Councilperson Giordano and Mayor Livengood. It is fair to conclude that the decision to close the files regarding Ms. Giordano and Mr. Livengood is indicative of that agency finding no wrongdoing on the part of those persons. The FPPC's position on the matter is therefore consistent with my findings and conclusions addressed in my letter of August 5.

According to conversations with the District Attorney's Office on September 14, 2010, the FPPC has referred the matter to them. Communication with that office indicates that they have not yet taken a position on the matter. Any comment by me indicating that I do not consider this matter closed relates merely to the fact that I had not heard back from the DA. I felt I could not fully consider the matter closed until having heard from the DA's office in that regard. Nonetheless, my position is what it has always been: I see no violation of law and no basis for the City Attorney's Office taking further action based upon the allegations brought by Mr. Ferguson. I consider the City Attorney case closed. The FPPC letters of case closure affirm that position.

Michael J. Ogaz
City Attorney, City of Milpitas
September 16, 2010

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