Fair Political Practices Committee Fines Coalition for Contributions to Campaign To Repeal Health Insurance Law
As expected, the Fair Political Practices Commission on Monday fined Californians Against Government Run Healthcare $25,000 for failing to properly report more than $1 million in contributions from California businesses to sponsor a referendum to repeal a law (SB 2) that will require some employers to provide health insurance to employees or pay into a state fund that would provide such coverage, the Los Angeles Times reports (Ingram, Los Angeles Times, 3/16). SB 2, scheduled to take effect Jan. 1, 2006, will require employers with 200 or more employees to provide health insurance to workers and their dependents by 2006 or pay into a state fund that would provide such coverage. Employers with 50 to 199 employees will have to provide health insurance only to workers by 2007. The law will exempt employers with fewer than 20 employees. The law also will exempt employers with 20 to 49 employees unless the state provides them with tax credits to subsidize the cost of health insurance for employees. FPPC alleged that the coalition failed to file electronic reports to disclose 10 contributions of $5,000 or more within 10 days of the formation of the group, as required by law. The contributions included $500,000 from the California Restaurant Association and $100,000 each from Nordstrom, Robinson's-May, Sears Roebuck and Target (California Healthline, 3/9). FPPC reduced the fine to $25,000 from the maximum allowable fine of $50,000 because it said that CAGRH had "mitigated" its filing error by disclosing the donations in January, 10 months before the Nov. 2, 2004, election, which will include the referendum on SB 2. According to the Times, FPPC also noted that CAGRH had "properly disclosed" about $1.1 million in other contributions (Los Angeles Times, 3/16). CAGRH previously agreed to pay the fine (California Healthline, 3/9).
Additional information on SB 2 is available online.