CA: CalPERS Board Member Facing Another FPPC Fine

Aug. 12--A CalPERS board member is facing another fine from the state's political watchdog agency, this time for failure to file campaign finance statements on time.

Priya Mathur, vice president of the CalPERS governing board, has agreed to a $1,000 fine by the Fair Political Practices Commission, according to FPPC documents. The fine is expected to be approved at the commission's Aug. 21 meeting.

The FPPC said Mathur, who joined the CalPERS board in 2003, failed to file four campaign finance statements on time in connection with her bid for re-election. She is facing Leyne Milstein, the city of Sacramento's finance director, in a mail-in campaign. The balloting runs from Aug. 29 to Sept. 29.

Mathur was fined $6,000 in 2006 because she was late in filing her conflict-of-interest statements and a pair of campaign documents. The FPPC fined her a combined $7,000 in two separate cases in spring 2010 for similar lapses.

After the second fine in 2010, the board of the California Public Employees' Retirement System punished Mathur by removing her as chair of the pension fund's health benefits committee and temporarily banned her from traveling on CalPERS business.

After the board voted to punish her, Mathur said: "This will not happen again."

The punishment came as CalPERS was tightening its ethics policies amid a bribery scandal involving Fred Buenrostro, its former chief executive. Buenrostro recently pleaded guilty in connection with that case and is awaiting sentencing.

In the latest case against Mathur, the FPPC said she neglected to file campaign finance statements for a two-year period ending last Dec. 31.

Mathur, who works in finance at Bay Area Rapid Transit, said in an email that the case resulted from a paperwork snafu on her part. After speaking with the FPPC, "I discovered that the paperwork had not been correctly filed," she said. "I immediately filed all the necessary forms and brought my committee filings up to date."

The FPPC could have fined Mathur as much as $5,000. It agreed to reduce the fine in part because Mathur "had no reportable financial activity" during that two-year period.

CalPERS declined to comment on the matter.

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