Elk Grove City Council Member Fined $3,500 for Personal Use of Campaign Funds

August 19, 2014 | An Elk Grove City Council Member has been fined $3,500 by the California Fair...

August 19, 2014 |

An Elk Grove City Council Member has been fined $3,500 by the California Fair Political Practices Commission for illegal use of campaign funds.

The fine is being assessed against second-term council member Steve Detrick after he used campaign funds to finance his son Brian’s on-going defamation lawsuit against Elk Grove resident Connie Conley. The fine, which will be officially levied at the FPPC’s Thursday, August 21 regular meeting, is a stipulation agreement whereby Detrick will acknowledge that he illegally used funds for personal purposes.

Elk Grove City Council Member
Steve Detrick. 
In levying the fine, which could be a maximum of $5,000, the FPPC report noted that Detrick acknowledged his payment of over $93,000 to the Sacramento-based law firm Boutin Jones for Brian Detrick’s litigation cost. Detrick said he believed he was legally using his campaign funds to pay for his son’s legal expenses against Conley, whom he considered a political rival.

The report noted “Respondent [Detrick] contends that at the time he directed the payments he mistakenly believed they were lawful expenditures of the Committee’s funds because Constance Conley is a political rival and former employee of Respondent and he believed her allegedly libelous statements about Brian Detrick were motivated by her political and personal rivalry with Respondent.”

The report also noted the seriousness of violation saying “By using campaign funds to pay his son’s legal bills, Respondent violated this important provision of the Act. Further, Respondent violated the Act in a similar manner on a prior occasion by using campaign funds at a charitable auction and making personal use of the items purchased.”

The complaint was originally filed in February by Elk Grove resident Linda Ford. A co-founder of the Elk Grove Community Connection organization, Ford had been a volunteer on Detrick’s 2008 campaign.  

Ford did not respond to an email request seeking comment on the matter.    

This fine is the second for Detrick in the last three months from the FPPC. In June, Detrick was fined $1,500 for using $425 from his campaign funds to purchase a vacation package at a charitable event. 

Detrick did not respond to request to comment on the matter as of this posting. As of his June 30 financial disclosure filed with the Elk Grove City Clerk's office, Detrick has repaid his fund $31,500.

The stipulation agreement and the FPPC ruling can be viewed here.

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