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FPPC clears Placer GOP, but Rocklin councilman quits party in disgust

Sacramento Bee (2009-12-03) Ed Fletcher

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By Ed Fletcher

Published: Thursday, Dec. 3, 2009 - 12:00 am | Page 4B

It was a win one, lose one kind of day for Placer County Republicans.

Just as party officials were announcing they'd been cleared in a state campaign finance investigation, another officeholder was resigning from the party.

On Wednesday, Rocklin City Councilman Peter Hill switched party designation from Republican to "decline to state," the same action County Supervisor Jim Holmes announced he'd taken in October.

"They don't want me, and I decided I don't want to be a part of their shenanigans," Hill told The Bee on Wednesday.

By shenanigans, Hill was referring to the Placer County Republican Central Committee's practice of attacking party members viewed as not Republican enough and its contributions to a San Diego-area assemblyman, which resulted in the investigation.

Hill – who has been on the Rocklin council for 27 years – said the committee's contributions from and to Joel Anderson, R-Alpine, don't pass the smell test.

In June, the Placer GOP central committee accepted a contribution of $32,400 from Anderson's expiring Assembly account. Five days later, the group wrote Anderson's 2010 Assembly campaign account a check for $31,400.

The state's Fair Political Practices Commission notified the committee Monday that there is insufficient evidence to proceed with an enforcement action.

An FPPC official said moving the money from an Anderson Assembly account to the committee and then back to a new Anderson Assembly account did not constitute a violation. The Nov. 30 letter suggested that had Anderson later moved the money to a Senate account, it could have resulted in a violation.

Committee Chairman Tom Hudson issued a press statement regarding the FPPC finding: "It would be difficult to imagine a more law-abiding group of people than the members of the Placer County Republican Central Committee."

Hill said he's not buying it.

"They are crowing because they got away with it," Hill said. "Technically, it may not have risen to the level" where the FPPC wanted to act … , but "in real life it was money laundering and they got away with it."

As for Hill's decision to change his party designation, Hudson said Hill won't be missed because he was never very popular with county Republicans.

Hill has been targeted by the central committee for not being conservative enough.

The latest flap occurred in August when the five registered Republicans on Rocklin's City Council – including Hill – supported an extension of a park tax. It was approved on Aug. 25 by nearly 83 percent of Rocklin voters through a mail-in ballot, despite party opposition.

Hudson said he didn't blame the voters who he said were hoodwinked into supporting it. He blamed the people who put it on the ballot and campaigned in support of it.

In Hill's letter to other county elected leaders he was unapologetic.

Hudson quipped that Hill mistakenly thought he'd joined the tax, spend and big government party.

The committee chair shared a similar sentiment about Holmes, who is considering a run as an independent against Rep. Tom McClintock.

Hill said he sent the letter to other county GOP officials not to suggest they join his shift to "decline to state," but to urge them to keep a careful eye on Hudson and the committee.

"The Placer County Republican Central Committee is on the wrong track," he said. "I have no desire to travel any further on an out-of-control train."

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Title FPPC clears Placer GOP, but Rocklin councilman quits party in disgust
Publisher Sacramento Bee
Author Ed Fletcher
Pub Date 2009-12-03
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Note Features Joel Anderson
Keywords 77thStateAssemblyDistrict, Local Politics
Media Type Linked Article
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Topic revision: r1 - 04 Dec 2009, RaymondLutz
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