UPDATE, 4:50 p.m.:
Barely 15 minutes after this post was published, Bohn sent us a photo of a copy of his completed Form 501, stamped “received” by the Elections Office.
“Hope I don’t get too much jail time,” he quipped.
Humboldt County First District Supervisor Rex Bohn has been soliciting donations for his 2024 re-election campaign despite the fact that he has yet to file a candidate intention statement, known as Form 501, as required by California Government Code Section 85200.
Blogger John Chiv was the first to point this out in a post last week, and the Humboldt County Office of Elections says Bohn’s campaign still hasn’t turned the form in.
The First District supervisor’s re-election website is actively soliciting and accepting credit card donations, and at his campaign kickoff event last Wednesday, he encouraged attendees to make donations on the spot.
Here’s what he said on that front:
Form 501, which you can download by clicking here, includes instructions that tell aspiring candidates they must, “File the Form 501 before you solicit or receive any contributions.”
The form also notes, “A candidate for state or local office must file this form for each election, including reelection to the same office.”
What are the repercussions for violating those rules? From a financial standpoint, not too severe.
The Enforcement Division of the California Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) deals with violations of the Political Reform Act in a complaint-driven process. Often, the commission will issue a warning letter, like this one sent to a 2020 candidate for the Hesperia Unified School District Board. The commission let her off the hook since she had filed her other paperwork on time and had no history of prior violations, but the letter warned, “Failure to comply with the provisions of the Act in the future will result in monetary penalties of up to $5,000 for each violation.”
The FPPC has assessed fines in other instances, though hardly enough to sidetrack most campaigns. In 2016, for example, the FPPC fined a Newport Beach City Council candidate $200 for this exact reason: He solicited and received contributions prior to filing his Candidate Statement of Intention.
Reached by phone this afternoon, Bohn said he was unaware that his campaign had yet to file a Form 501.
“I’ll ask my accountant,” he said, adding that he’s sure that he’s filed the form in previous elections. “I’ll figure it out,” he said.