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State Center Trustee Payne Faces $66,000 in Election Fines



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The state agency in charge of campaign finance is proposing $66,000 in penalties for a Fresno community college trustee, citing numerous infractions over the years.

The Fair Political Practices Commission said Payne, a trustee with the State Center Community College District, failed to file numerous reports, misused campaign funds, failed to accurately report campaign contributions, and received prohibited cash contributions.

The charges date to 2012, when Payne first won election. He won re-election for the seat in 2016.

Payne offered no comment when contacted by GV Wire. He says he’s “in mitigation” with the FPPC.

Photo of State Center Community College trustee Eric Payne

Eric Payne

Notice of Intent

When the FPPC meets at its May 16 meeting in San Diego, staff will deliver a notice of intent to present a default decision at the following June meeting.

FPPC divided its findings of 21 violations against Payne and his campaign committee.

The individual allegations include:

— One count of failing to timely file a state of the intention to be a candidate before 2016.

— Failing to timely file an Annual Statement of Economic Interests in 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016 (six counts total).

— One count of misusing campaign funds to purchase casual clothing. According to an August 2018 FPPC report, Payne purchased $471.50 in clothing in violation of state law.

Those proposed penalties total $37,000.

Additional Allegations

Allegations against both the committee and Payne include:

— Failure to amend a statement of organization (one count).

— Failure to file two semi-annual campaign statements (two counts).

— Failure to file two pre-election statements (two counts).

—Failure to file 24-Hour reports (required when donations reach over $1,000) (four counts)

— One count of failing to accurately report all contributions and expenditures on the pre-election statements.

— Two counts of receiving prohibited cash contributions and making prohibited cash expenditures.

— Failure to maintain supporting records of contributions and expenses (one count).

Those proposed penalties total $29,000.

FPPC initially published its findings of the 21 counts in August 2018.

Payne Previously Fined in 2016

The FPPC has penalized Payne in the past. In 2016, the watchdog levied a $200 fine for failing to pay his $50 annual fee with FPPC.

The community college district offered a brief comment on Payne’s situation Monday.

“The district is not involved in campaign documentation. That is between the trustees and the Fair Political Practices Commission,” a spokesperson said.

Curiosity drives David Taub. The award-winning journalist might be shy, but feels mighty with a recorder in his hand. He doesn't see it his job to "hold public officials accountable," but does see it to provide readers (and voters) the information needed to make intelligent choices. Taub has been honored with several writing awards from the California News Publishers Association. He's just happy to have his stories read. Joining GV Wire in 2016, Taub covers politics, government and elections, mainly in the Fresno/Clovis area. He also writes columns about local eateries (Appetite for Fresno), pro wrestling (Off the Bottom Rope), and media (Media Man). Prior to joining the online news source, Taub worked as a radio producer for KMJ and PowerTalk 96.7 in Fresno. He also worked as an assignment editor for KCOY-TV in Santa Maria, California, and KSEE-TV in Fresno. He has also worked behind the scenes for several sports broadcasts, including the NCAA basketball tournament, and the Super Bowl. When not spending time with his family, Taub loves to officially score Fresno Grizzlies games. Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area, Taub is a die-hard Giants and 49ers fan. He graduated from the University of Michigan with dual degrees in communications and political science. Go Blue! You can contact David at 559-492-4037 or at Send an Email