(FOX40.COM) — The Sacramento Ethics Commission cleared mayoral candidate Dr. Flo Cofer’s campaign of violating city campaign finance code on Monday.
The Cofer campaign was accused of raising more than the limit allowed during a certain period but an error on the part of the city led to an abnormality in campaign finance rules.
The Cofer campaign reported raising $158,738 in the latest filing period, known as the “off election year” period, which ran from January 1 to June 30, 2023.
Sacramento mayoral candidates are limited by city code to raising no more than $67,900 during “off election year” periods.
Once the “off election year” period ends, it is traditionally followed the very next day by a period (the “primary election” period) where that limit is removed.
Sacramento city election dates, and therefore campaign finance periods, follow the dates set by the state.
In 2020 the state primaries moved from June to March.
In response, the Sacramento City Council pushed the start date of the second period from July 1 backward to April 1 to line up with the new primary election dates but left the end date of the first period as June 30, which the Sacramento City Attorney’s office said was an oversight on the part of the city.
As a result the two periods overlapped, meaning candidates continued to be limited in how much they could raise despite the start of the second period.
An independent investigation found that the Cofer campaign, which did not begin until after the second period began, emailed the city clerk’s office multiple times with questions on the matter but did not receive an answer.
The independent investigator recommended that the ethics commission rule that the Cofer campaign violated the rules since she did raise more than allowed in the “off election year” period but issue no punishment. The council voted unanimously that it committed no violations.
According to campaign finance filings, the other mayoral candidates, all of whose campaigns began more than a month after Cofer launched in April, stayed under the $67,900 limit during the “off election year” period:
- Steve Hansen campaign: $66,912
- Kevin McCarty campaign: $66,875
- Dr. Richard Pan campaign: $1,275