CalPERS Reprimands Two Board Members for Campaign Finance Violation, Bashing CIO

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Two CalPERS board members were punished yesterday; one for failing to disclose campaign finance documents and the other for publicly criticizing the fund’s chief investment officer.

One board member, J.J. Jelincic, was instructed to stop speaking to the press after he publicly criticized CalPERS’ new chief investment officer, Ted Eliopoulos. Writes the Sacramento Bee:

“He doesn’t have the temperament or the management skills,” Jelincic said in a Sept. 29 Pensions & Investments story about the hiring [of the fund’s new CIO].

And he didn’t stop there. Eliopolous played favorites with staff, Jelincic said, listened too much to outside consultants and made poor investment decisions.

CalPERS board President Rob Feckner called the comments “unfortunate and a breach of board governance policy of civility and courtesy as well as a breach of the CalPERS core values.” Jelincic was then instructed to stop talking to the media.

After the board meeting, Jelincic told the media:

“I’m not sure what the hell it meant other than they didn’t want me talking to the press.” As for the statements he made about Eliopoulos, he added: “It was a comment on a public action.”

The other reprimanded board member, Priya Mathur, was stripped of several leadership positions on Wednesday after repeatedly failing to disclose campaign finance disclosures. From the Sacramento Bee:

Priya Mathur, a board member since 2003, was removed as board vice president and chair of the CalPERS Pension and Health Benefits Committee. She also is out as vice chair of two committees: Board Governance and Performance, Compensation & Talent Management.

Mathur, who is facing a $4,000 fine from the state Fair Political Practices Commission, sat stoically as CalPERS board President Rob Feckner announced the punishment at a board meeting. She didn’t speak and wasn’t available for comment afterward.


The FPPC is fining Mathur for failing to file four campaign finance statements in connection with her recent successful bid for re-election to the CalPERS board.

She had no campaign funds to report, and Mathur has previously described the issue as a paperwork snafu. Nonetheless, “we still believe that rules are rules,” Feckner said.

Mathur has been fined $13,000 by the FPPC during her tenure as a board member. She failed to make necessary disclosures in 2002, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2012 and 2013.

CalPERS Board Member Faces Quadrupled Fine After Repeatedly Failing To Disclose Campaign Finances

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CalPERS board member Priya Mathur failed to turn in campaign finance and conflict of interest statements in 2002, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2012 and 2013.

She’s been fined numerous times, but her next one is going to be bigger the biggest yet: the panel that levies the fines has agreed to quadruple Mathur’s latest fine, from $1000 to $4000. From the Sacramento Bee:

The Fair Political Practices Commission plans to impose a $4,000 fine at its Oct. 16 meeting. Mathur has agreed to the fine, according to FPPC documents.

The agency’s staff had proposed a $1,000 fine for Mathur’s most recent violation, in which she failed to file campaign finance statements on time. But the commissioners decided at their August meeting that Mathur’s repeat offenses warranted a penalty of $4,000. The fine comes to $1,000 for each of the four campaign finance statements that she was late in filing.

In a Sacramento Bee interview earlier this summer, she blamed the latest problems on a paperwork snafu. But FPPC staff said it took “numerous requests” from investigators to get Mathur to finally submit the documents.

Mathur last week was declared the winner, based on preliminary results, in her bid for re-election. An official with the Bay Area Rapid Transit district, Mathur will serve another four-year term starting in January.

Mathur has been fined $13,000 by the Comission during her time on the CalPERS board.

CalPERS Board Member Facing Stiffer Penalty After Latest Failure To File Campaign Documents


What do the years 2002, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2012 and 2013 all have in common?

Those are the years that Priya Mathur, Vice President of the CalPERS board, failed to submit campaign finance documents or conflict of interest statements in a timely manner.

She was fined three times by the Fair Political Practices Commission over that period for those violations. Now, another fine is coming for her latest transgressions. From the LA Times:

At issue in the recent enforcement action was the failure to file four semiannual campaign financial statements for 2012 and 2013 in a timely manner.

In a recent email, she described the missed reports as an oversight. “I had inadvertently failed to file the proper forms in 2012 to close my campaign committee,” she said.

The proposed fine of $1,000 was announced Aug. 11 after she and FPPC attorneys reached an agreement to settle the charges. In turn, Mathur and her board reelection committee pledged not to contest the punishment.

But the panel reversed course on the $1000 dollar fine and decided they should quadruple it—raising it to $4000. The Sacramento Bee reports:

Mathur, the pension fund’s vice president, had agreed to a $1,000 fine with the staff of the state Fair Political Practices Commission. But the commissioners refused to accept the fine Thursday, arguing that Mathur should get a higher penalty because she had been fined several times before by the FPPC.

Gary Winuk, the agency’s chief of enforcement, said commissioners sent the case back to the FPPC’s staff and suggested the fine be increased to $4,000.

“Given her history … they felt it warranted a higher penalty,” he said. He said the matter could be brought back to the commission next month.

At this point, Mathur and the ethics panel probably know each other on a first name bases. But repeated disciplinary actions haven’t changed Mathur’s behavior. From the Sac Bee:

The FPPC has already fined Mathur a total of $13,000 for earlier transgressions, including late filing of campaign documents and her conflict-of-interest statements. The most recent fine came in 2010, prompting the CalPERS board to punish her by removing her as chair of the health benefits committee and suspending her from traveling on pension fund business.

In the latest case, Mathur was late filing four campaign finance statements in connection with her re-election bid. Mathur told The Sacramento Bee last week that the late filing was the result of a paperwork mix-up.

The FPPC staff, in its report to the commissioners, said it took “numerous requests” from investigators to get Mathur to finally file the documents. That conduct played a role in the commissioners’ desire for a stronger penalty, Winuk said.

The board’s election takes place next week. The election is conducted by mail.

Photo by Blake O’Brien via Flickr CC License

VP of CalPERS Board Faces Repeated Discipline from State Ethics Panel


Priya Mathur is the Vice President of the CalPERS Board of Administration, and she is currently seeking re-election to serve a fourth term on the Board. Her tenure requires her to submit semi-annual campaign financial statements and statements of economic interest.

But the Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC), California’s political watchdog agency, says Mathur failed to submit her campaign financial statements in a timely manner four separate times in 2012 and 2013.

And it’s not the first time Mathur has failed to turn in required documentation in a timely manner—the FPPC has fined Mathur three times in the past for similar offenses after she failed to submit statements on time in 2002, 2007, 2008 and 2010. From the LA Times:

This is not Mathur’s first run-in with the ethics panel. The commission has taken enforcement actions against Mathur three other times in the last nine years, fining her a total of $13,000.

The fines could become an issue in her current reelection campaign, with mail-in balloting running from Aug. 29 to September 29.

“I find it interesting that she feels she doesn’t have to comply with these standards,” said Mathur’s opponent, Leyne Milstein, the finance director of the city of Sacramento. “We all need to be held accountable if we want to represent the public.”

The fine and settlement agreement follow a series of filing lapses by Mathur that were investigated and prosecuted. The commission fined her $3,000 in April 2010, and $4,000 in May of that year for failing to file on time legally required statements of economic interest for 2007 and 2008.

As a result, Mathur’s board colleagues punished her by stripping her of a chairmanship of the health committee and temporarily suspending her travel privileges. However, they subsequently voted to make her vice president of the board.

In 2006, Mathur paid a $6,000 fine for not properly filing financial documents after her initial 2002 election to the CalPERS board.

The FPPC is expected to formally approve the charges against Mathur at its next meeting on August 21. Mathur is not disputing the charges.

Gary Winuk, the FPPC’s chief of enforcement, had this to say:

“Failing to file a campaign statement is a serious violation of the Act because it deprives the public of important information about a candidate’s financial activities,” he told the LA Times.


Photo by Blake O’Brien via Flickr CC License