A blow tonight for San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed and the reelection campaign of incumbent City Council woman Rose Herrera.
The State's Fair Political Practices Commission ruled Friday that the mayor violated state law when his political action committee donated $100,000 to Herrera's campaign. The commission ordered the money be returned immediately.
The commission said Reed violated Section 85501 of the Fair Political Practices Commission. That section says that a controlled committee of a candidate may not make independent expenditures and may not contribute funds to another committee for the purposed of making independent expenditures to support or oppose other candidates.
The committee in question is the San Jose Reform Committee Supporting Rose Herrera for City Council 2012 and was formed to support Herrera my making independent expenditures supporting her election and opposing her opponents.
Michelle McGurk with the mayor's office said the statute only applies to candidates and Mayor Reed is not a candidate.
The mayor echoed that in a statement released at 5 p.m.
“The statute cited in the FPPC’s letter applies to candidate-controlled committees and I am not a candidate. The committee’s attorney responded to the FPPC with this information and remains in communication with their staff. We are fully cooperating with the FPPC and hope to come to a resolution on this matter quickly.” – Mayor Chuck Reed.
McGurk noted that the letter actually came out Monday. She said Chuck Reed's committee lawyer has been in contact with the FPPC to argue that point.
The commission says the mayor faces penalties of up to $5,000 for each violation.
Reed is in a bitter battle to keep is ally Herrera on the council.
She is opposed by Jimmy Nguyen, who is being helped by labor unions to unseat Herrera.