East County News Service
February 7, 2016 (San Diego’s East County) – State Senator Ben Hueso, a San Diego Democrat, and his campaign treasurer Nancy Haley are being sued by activists Ken Mosher and retired Marine Colonel Richard Shigley for allegedly failing to properly disclose campaign expenditures. The action is the latest in a string of controversies involving Hueso's campaign finances.
The lawsuit, filed on January 11th , comes on the heels of a complaint filed with the Fair Political Practices Commission late last year alleging that Hueso failed to disclose roughly $74,000 in expenditures. The bulk of those were legal fees for his defense in another case, which were listed as “office expenses” instead of a separate category for legal costs.
Hueso’s attorney, in a legal pleading on another case slated for trail this month, stated that over $65,000 in legal fees were”inadvertently omitted from the legal report.” Mosher and Shigley contend that defendants also committed perjury. An earlier suit in 2009 also alleged failure to properly report legal fees. The two cases will now be consolidated, per an order by Judge Katherine Bacal. The plaintiffs seek more than $85,000 in civil penalties plus attorney fees.
Hueso, on probation for driving under the influence in Sacramento in 2014, was reelected in fall 2014 to his state Senate seat.
The Senator has a history of campaign violations in prior campaigns. In 2005, he paid $10,750 to settle violations of failing to report legal defense fees while running for the San Diego Unified School Board. In 2006, he paid a $17,000 fine to the San Diego Ethics Commission for taking contributions over the legal limit and other violations while running for San Diego City Council.
While running for the State Assembly in 2010, he paid a $2000 FPPC fine for funneling some of his campaign funds into his brother’s City Council Campaign and received a warning from the FPPC for failing to disclose non-monetary donations.
Hueso’s district spans the southern portion of San Diego’s East County from Dulzura to Jacumba, as well as Chula Vista and portions of San Diego, also including part of Riverside County and all of Imperial County. He chairs the state Senate’s Energy, Utilities and Communications committee and serves as Vice Chair on the Veterans Committee, also chairing a select committee on California-Mexico cooperation.
In 2015, Hueso legislation included SB 660, a measure vetoed by Governor Jerry Brown that would have prohibited ex-parte backroom communications between California Public Utilities officials and the utilities they regulate. A measure to require cardiac defibrillators in new, large buildings was signed by the Governor, as was a bill aimed at boosting voter turnout by consolidating elections in areas with low turnout. In 2016, bills introduced by Hueso include the Equal Gender Pricing Bill, which would prohibit vendors from charging higher prices for the same or similar products based on gender.